Images of war
The horrors of a war-tom Europe have been captured in a challenging exhibition. Bethan Cole speaks to the artist and owner of an innovative
Set up by Vasile Toch and his wife Susan Norrie, The Norrie Toch Studios provide a sympathetic setting for Toch‘s own seven-year retrospective. The cool, contemplative atmosphere of this converted church is the background for an often traumatic collection, which reconstructs Toch’s personal history since his 1987 defection from his native Romania.
The traces of Europe’s recent, ruptured history are strong here. Innocents (Romanian Spring 1990) is part reconstruction of a North West Transylvanian ‘Jolly Graveyard.’ A cluster of short rods, with crude mini- cameos atop, echo the Romanian tradition of burial posts, topped with naive portraits, bearing a humorous comment about the deceased.
Sebastians 0f Sarajevo (1994) utilises the same form and is situated, like an altar, at the head of the church. Three distressed, black, wooden, 10ft posts
stand as tn'ptych; tiny, anguished faces ’
cry out from their tops and arrow-like rods impale the body of the wood below. Toch says he felt a strong afﬁnity for the victims of the Serbian- Bosnian-Croatian conﬂict: ‘lt‘s not
because they‘re Serbs or Croats particularly, they‘re pan of the same cultural pool. it came as a big supn’se when the conflict started. Yugoslavia always seemed to be the most prosperous and stable East European country.’
Western Europe's response to the Yugoslavian conﬂict drove Toch to create The Red Half Car (1994), a rough-hewn, vertical plane suggestive of a cat’s proﬁle with three stakes driven at arrow-like angles into it. ‘At ﬁrst the West was very sad about Sarajevo,‘ he explains. ‘Aid was sent, but then people started taking sides with the Serbs or Croats and speculating, trying to proﬁt out of the situation. The Red Half Cat is about my desire to drive whiskers into their faces through sheer anger.’
Other works use traditional Romanian techniques — acrylics on glass or motifs for less disturbing ends. in Cabaret (1992) a painterly, expressive
Byzantine image of a face with four wings symbolises the migration of the soul from one country to another. Fertig depicts daubed white ﬁgures in various states of tonal visibility against a deep blue background, creating a representation ofthe passing of time. What impresses is the range of materials employed: beaten metal and layers of paint in the early work. wood steel and acrylic sculptures, a totally diverse range of shapes and forms, the conceptual moulded Long Whistle being a prime example. Toch relates his breadth of realisation to being a practising architect. ‘lt's obviously the most major art in terms of its impact on society at large,’ he says. ‘But l’m careful not to view my other work in terms of its situation within a building. Once you do that you become a mere decorator.’ Vasile Toch Retrospective 1987—1994 was seen at Norrie Toch Studios. Gullane.
[— Art of
lie was a master of deception, the man behind a holiday propaganda machine - and engineer of one of the world’s largest picture postcard empires.
John ilinde’s lurid photographic images of a mythical Ireland and paradislcal Butlin’s holiday camps brought tourists from across the globe in search of the perfect vacation. If they found something quite ditferent when they arrived, Ilinde was forgiven as they headed for the postcard stands to continue the cycle of deception.
More than 30 years after the English photographer began his quest for the perfect holiday image, his work has
been exalted to the status of art in a
touring Irish Museum of Modern Art exhibition - the aptly named lilndesight. These are the postcards you wanted to believe in: the raging sunsets, the Ilonegal donkey on an emerald green hillside, the Irish fisherman with customary Arran jumper. But as iIInde’s technical wizardry is revealed, so too is his
ability to manipulate reality into finely-tuned, sanitised images. The sunsets are grafted, the hillsides injected with colour and the Arm: jumper is too small - borrowed from a child for the photograph.
It all began in 1954, when Ilinde produced six stylised images of Ireland to flog to transatlantic tourists stopping over at Shannon airport. The postcards were avidly consumed and Ilinde’s experiment grew into a full- blown industry. By 1967, he was the master-builder, Instructing a team of photographers in his techniques.
When he sold up in 1972, 50 million
postcards were being sold worldwide. Ills evangelical purging of reality and ability to replace it with something spectacular - however garish - stemmed from illnde’s fascination with colour photography. tie was a pioneer in an art which captured the post-war public’s Imagination during an era when holidays invariably meant wet weekends. His pictures may have been deceptions, but Ilinde is right in saying they were exactly what people wanted. (Kathleen Morgan) llindesight is at the CCA until 27 Aug.
Exhibitions are listed by city, than alphabetically by venue. Shows will be listed, provided that details reach our offices at least ten days before publication. Art and Exhibition listings compiled by Kathleen Morgat.
I ART EXPOSURE GALLERY 38 Bath Street, 331 2617. Mon—Sat 10.30am—6pm. Edinburgh Artists Sat 30 Jul—25 Aug. Overcoming the east-west divide, this show features the work of Edinburgh- based artists, including Cockbum, Standen, Gillies and Edinburgh Printmakers.
I ART GALLERY 8: MUSEUM, KELVINGROVE 357 3929. Mon-Sat 10am—5pm; Sun Ham—5pm. Cafe. [D]. Voluntary guides are available free of charge to conduct parties or individuals round the main galleries. Ask at the enquiry desk.
The Prince of Wales Watercolours Fri 5 Aug—4 Sept. £1.50 (children under 11 free). An exhibition of 50 paintings — many not seen by the public before - in aid of the Prince‘s Charities Trust.
The Woodcarver’s Cratt Until 25 Sept. Exploring the changing an of woodcarving over three centuries, this exhibition features everything from puppets to pulpits.
Canvassing the Clyde: Stanley Spencer and the Shipyards Until Sat 7 Aug. Another showing of Spencer‘s large oils which he produced during World War 11. As well as the Gallery’s collection, a number have been lent by the Imperial War Museum.
Modern Art from the Collection New permanent display. David Hockney, Bridget Riley. Alan Davie, Jasper Johns, Bruce McLean and Eduardo Paolozzi are featured in an exhibition of Pop Art and work inspired by the heady 60s.
I ROGER BILLGLIFEE FINE ART 134 Blythswood Street, 332 4027. Mon—Fri 9.30am—5.30pm; Sat 10am—1pm.
Small Pictures Until 26 Aug. Watercolours, oils, collage, etchings and pastels by contemporary artists, mainly from Scotland, but many from further aﬁeld.
Trevor Forrester New work in pewter and brass by the artist whose brooches and ear-rings have stories to tell. Also on show throughout the summer are Malcolm Appleby, Sarah Fitzalan-Howard, Nicola Becci and more.
I BURHSIOE GALLERY 190 Dukes Road. 613 3663. Daily 10am—5pm (closed Tue anti Sun).
[in Pattullo Sat 6 Aug—3 Sept. Scottish landscapes, still life and scenes from Greece.
Summer Exhibition Until Sat 30 Jul. Work by more than twenty artists, including Victoria Cassidy and Lorna Cunningham. I BURRELL COLLECTION Pollokshaws Road, 649 7151. Mon—Sat 10am—5pm; Sun 11am—5pm. Cafe. [D].
Edwardian tycoon William Burrell's collection of furniture including paintings, ceramics and glass is housed in an elegant, purpose-built gallery. Recorded descriptions and thermoforms available for the beneﬁt of visually impaired visitors.
flew Perspectives: The Italian Renaissance Until 25 Sept. A fresh look at ltaly’s 15th century cultural explosion featuring paintings, glassware, ceramics. armour, illustrated books. textiles and musical instruments.
I GOA 346—354 Sauchiehall Street, 332 7521. Tue—Sat Ham—5.30pm. Cafe. [D]. John Hinde: Ilindesight Until 27 Aug. A pioneer of early colour photography, John
The List 29 July-ll August 1994 55