BT New Contemporaries is a showcase for the brightest of Britain’s young artists. Beatrice 5 Colin talks to four of the artists.
Brat pack i
‘Lacking audience and outlets.‘ writes selector. Stuart Morgan in the catalogue. ‘Reacting against the models of tightness, British artists are inventing the universe they want to inhabit.‘ Over 1000 young artists submitted their work to the selection panel of BT New Contemporaries 93—94. There was only one rule, that submissions had to be from under or recent graduates. and so from a vast range of wild, woolly i and sometimes unfathomable material including a i urinal made of soap. a birthday party in Brighton on I film and a surprisingly high number of pieces ; inspired by Denis Nilsen. the selectors chose 28 works. The resulting show features a wide range of : mediums such as videos. paintings. photographs. and ! installation. and is an impressive cross section of the 1 most interesting art happening in Britain today. 1 Sivan Lewin‘s photographs are about voyeurism. i Looking into interiors from the outside at night. they frame young women sitting in their living rooms, exposed and alone. The photographs are both disturbing and fascinating and have the bleak luminosity of Edward Hopper. ‘lt's about the distance between the viewer and the looker and the perceived vulnerability of women.’ Lewin says. ‘Photography is quite voyeuristic and people are inquisitive but documentary photography has never really answered these issues. Why does it seem taboo? l was making
‘ y, e. . ’ Signsthatsaywhatyouwanttheietosayandnotsignsthatsay what someone else wants there to say by Gillian ﬂexing.
it so explicit that you have to examine why it is disturbing.‘
New Man Rising by Adrian lzzard is a video installation performance piece. Three brightly coloured coffin-sized boxes have video monitors at each end which sometimes show a body inside. It‘s a narrative which has to be discovered. ‘l'iii interested
in puzzles and illusions,‘ says lzzard. ‘People have to walk round the piece to work out what's going on so it affects them physically. I'm aware that video is a very seductive medium and it forces the viewer to figure out why there’s nothing happening on some sets and a man squirming about in others. It's about claustrophobia and also about the fiction of video.‘
Simon Starling. surprisingly the only Scottish-based artist in the show. investigates contemporary art’s primary site — the museum. The piece in this show is a framed photograph of a blue plaster cast of a set of bottom teeth which the artist found in the grounds of a German Museum. Here. he presents it as evidence for some undisclosed or unknown set of events.
‘It was labelled with the name of the guy whose teeth it was and the date the cast was made‘. says Starling. ‘l‘m using it as a kind of archival material in a museum context rather than in a dental context.
; It opens up a whole potential set ofcircuiiistances
which forces you to ask questions about how things
gain value. The implied authority of a museum is a
fiction just like anything else.‘
Visual vox-pops, the photographs of Gillian Wearing give the subject the chance to answer back. ‘lt‘s a briefencounter. I stop everyone it lio passes me and if they agree, give them a card and pen. ask them to write absolutely anything. and take their picture. We're living in a media age and people can understand what l‘iii doing.
I‘ve taken over 400 signs now and have had quite a wide range of replies from funny. banal. philosophical to depressed. Some people are completely honest and a lot talk about recession and unemployment. The pictures echo a certain period in London. lt's social documentation really. and the photographs are interesting because they‘re of our time.‘
[37' New (.‘mitempm'uri't’s is at the (TA until 23 Apr.
who came to light in the 605 with his series oi naive portraits oi children.
He has taken up with his old comrade ' ~ again to produce these watercolours I of ungainly, rather asexual children i hearing such dreamily iey titles as s * It 8V8! there WBTB a L0 the Saﬂo' Io, Boat and 80' Running ' Scottish Renaissance Man, John mu. Streamer, ‘ l w , 31"“! W00” 3079'! M in the '"nﬂiﬂil- Innocent yet with an ominious ~ ,- ' llo artistic sphere, it seems, is immune “adornment, the works are in in his Midas tOllch- AS a Painter. embroidered with the puzzling g Playwright, TV dmails‘ 3"" allegorical presence oi birds, cats and 1
theatrical designer, he’s seen it, done it, been there and designed the book Jacket.
This small (and surprisingly badly hung) exhibition aiiords us more than a passing peek at the artistic roundabout ot mediums he has passed through since the 60s. The lull-bodied
snakes. This Symbolist theme spills over into a wonderlul large-scale self- portrait oi Byrne with shells and hug. Looking every inch the wind-swept Babelaisian artist on-the-verge, blowing smoke rings, these works assure the onlooker that his infamous humour is only ever a pointed beard
sell-portraits In oil, the spirited ink any. “New '0' “'9 Slab 3078 9'08 8 The somewhat frenetic-looking ‘ g H , ‘ a ' ‘g V plethora oi watercolours, prints and imam-comma an” of Young and old .4 ~ a; 2523‘ ,' i» ~x .. dramas all bear witness to Brmo’s Self Portraits are imbued with the paintings ieatured in the mlscheviou versatility in this abridged sample at mold-talents. same lrreverance. But they lack the Angels series come in numerous his huge, expansive talent. (Ann
"'0 Palm“!!! 9"!" MM PWMIMMO lmpressivness oi the Intimater terms: from Pensive to Praying via Donald) II this tiny enclave an time by the eerieetered stretches of qultied end ceirist end Fallen. Their varying styles works by John eyrne are at The 1W8"! altar-090 Plum. 8 cmctﬂ rat-laced Slab Boys. The smell minor perlectly Byme’s own artistic Scottish Gallery until Wed 6 April.
ON FOLLOWING PAGES: ARS MEOIOA O IN THE FRAME O DOUGLAS GORDON
The List 25 March—7 April 1994 81