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Making herstory

Perhaps this reviewer was feeling particularly dense the day she went along to Maud Sulter’s Alba installation, but without having read the rather poetic exhibition notes beforehand much of what eventually revealed itself as a strong and memorable piece would have gone largely unappreciated. Once you lock into the fact that this is ‘the artist’s spiritual journey’ and check out her anthropological/archaeological sources which are rooted in her exploration of the historical ‘Black presence in the Royal Court of James IV’ then Alba takes on an immediate and vibrant dimension that demands your full visual and aural attention as we become conversant with a fragment of Alba’s history hitherto forgotten in the annals of the nation’s parish.

Taking Rennaissance alchemist

quotes dispense universal truths that seek to find and connect the past with

Moon as cock needs hen’ or ‘The Wolf

, West incise the other’ and ‘tlurture

personally fashioned fairy-tale that 3 seeks to widen our perception of ‘home’. The re-interpreted engravings

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:2 "i The Sun R Michael Maier’s book Atalanta

Fugiens as a basis for the large scale series of engravings, Sulter relates her

, “‘ii ,‘I . \ t. eds the Moon, as the Crick Needs the lien from the Alba series 1995

i evoked via the wooden fertility dolls on a plinth as they also are via the elephant tusk horn that was used to bring ancestors closer, as well as four sometimes humorous colour portraits of individuals with Scottish and Ghanaian connections who have connected with Sulter in some way, who herself is half Scottish and half Ghanaian.

One of the strongest aspects of this 3 installation is the soundtrack that g alternates between Sulter’s beautiful : reading of The Alba Sonnets and the l Ghanaian-based Pan African Orchestra

may depict mythical scenes of days of old - knights, dragon, wolf, the elements of sun and moon but the

the present. For example ‘Sun needs

from the East and The Dog from the

' teaches Nature’. African ancestors are i whose music interweaves a

renaissance feel into their ‘waterfall’ sounds.

In a continual but much more graphic and physically intimate exploration of the artist’s Sell is the smaller installation Plantation. This is quite an extraordinary video work of an operation carried out on Sulter’s womb by an American surgeon who believes

in healing rather than performing full- blown hysterectomies. This 40-minute footage of what is physically ‘hidden’ to women has been overlaid in parts by a strategically placed dramatic imposition of scenes culled from the film Jane Eyre (with Orson Welles) which features Bertha Antoinetta Mason, Rochester’s hidden creole wile.

Both Alba and Plantation are not immediately accessible pieces but that’s not necessarily a negative thing, given that the rewards of bearing with both are enriching for any viewer. (Ann Oonald)

Maud Sulter: Alba 8 Plantation at the CCA, Glasgow until 28 Oct. Maud Sulter will give a gallery tour of her exhibition on Sat 7 Oct.

Club culture

Douglas Coupland’s book Generation X, Richard Linklater’s film Slacker and finally Art Club 2000, could be described as the American cultural Holy Trinity, of what the media has sloppin billed as a disenfranchised and jaded generation of American twentysomethings. Ironically this is the same generation who have been nurtured on an ever-expanding and inescapable media and consumer culture that assualts the senses on a 24-hour basis - from billboards to glossy lifestyle magazines to glam fashion shoots.

For self-proclaimed art provocateurs and ironists, Art Club 2000, this late 20th century situation has provided the group of seven graduates from the Cooper Union Art School in New York with a rich seam of material. Opinions

i vary from those who believe that they are nothing but unimaginative conceptualists whose dependancy on

Image is everything: Art Club 2000 unfilled 1994 l of society as a whole.’ Translated that means it’s your duty as a member of the consumer classes to suspect and question your culture.

50 what have the young bucks actually done to elicit such strong and disparate opinions? Well, their first venture managed to wind up twentysomething outfitters and multinational chain GAP. A number of Art Clubbers infiltrated the store posing as shop assistants and unearthed rather sinister GAP marketing strategies which were then juxtaposed in an exhibition alongside

the very subject they vilify equates to nothing more than a superficial and disposable art form, to those who see them as creating accessible comment on the way we live our lives. Their supporters cite them as the spunky offspring of much cited philosophers Roland Barthes and Michel Foucault in their artistic resistance to what has been described as ‘The positioning of the individual at the local level in relation to the ideological framework

the acceptable public face of CAP.

In other carefullylconstructed group photographs their love/hate relationship with consumer culture takes the form of mimicking the clothing, locations, gestures and expressions which already have a meaning in our culture. These photographs have titles like A Day In The Library or A flight At The Movies or The Coffee Shop where the aim is to prick the collective conscience in referring us back to the original images used by ad agencies to dupe and manipulate the public into wanting a certain lifestyle.

On the agenda for Transmission apparently is a documentry style ’day in the life’ of the ‘unknown’ New York- based Scottish artist Jackie McAlister. Could it be that Art Club 2000 and masquerading college boy Brian Mackinnon have joined forces in an artistic parody? Wait and see. (Ann Oonald)

Art Club 2000 are at Transmission, Glasgow until 4 Nov.

surreal act of faith. the first Davids of each age group were assembled at the Winnipeg Gallery over one weekend. Instructed to wear clothes without spots. stripes or logos. positioned with strict uniformity on a tape mark. facial expression neutral. hands folded. they were photographed to form a catalogued sequence.

Lexier is fascinated by the idea of growing tip and began this project as a grand-scale generalised portrait of ageing. llis participants and intended audience aren't those who would normally be involved in the making or viewing of contemporary art. Adapting this idea to make it publicly accessible in Scotland. he has condensed a huge work of full-length portraits into a series of three posters for bus shelters.

Through his work Lexier attempts to correlate ntoving through the different stages of life with the movement of

response of the average bus stop punter. ‘lt's very voyeuristic, so to have it at a

stupid ad even if you're not interested ; so I thought this would be the perfect

3 sequentially according to age and unrelated except by their first names is curious and compelling. People are

people through cities and towns. lts effectiveness derives from Lexier's playfulness which cart be seen in the

bus stop where you‘re waiting anyway. its a great way to have something to look at.‘ says Lexier. ‘You look at an

audience for the work'. The line-up of such diverse characters. arranged

inherently fascinating to look at; what Lexier gives us is the oppottunity to stand and stare at the extraordinariness of the ordinary.

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