Certainly not lads but definitely all- male, Filthy Swan are making their debut at Transmission. Paul Welsh chats to this fresh-faced mates’- own collective.
Mates ﬁrst, artists second. Glasgow‘s all-male collective Filthy Swan are deﬁnitely not: i) lads 2) obsessed by postmodernism 3) new 4) old 5) ﬁlling a genre 6) trying to be revolutionary or 7) aspiring media fascists. So collectively speaking. what are lain Dickinson. Robert Johnston. Gary Rough. Scott Waugh. Douglas Payne and Toby Paterson about? ‘We are all intensely interested in things around us.‘ they answer. ‘but do not draw any distinction between what we do day-to-day. and the art that comes out of it. People coming to the show are probably expecting lad art. and there are one or two pieces that might seem like that. but the majority is as far away from laddishness as you can get.‘ Resisting categories the way Airdrie resist a passing game. the work of these Glasgow School of Art 95 graduates is currently being aired at Transmission in a show entitled With Love — Filthy Swan. So what about the name? ‘Total serendipity. Douglas was sitting with a matchbox and started messing up the swan. Gary called it ﬁlthy. and eventually Robert said he knew what the group should be called.‘ But
surely personal ties go deeper than that'.’
‘Eyen it we were not showing the work together. we would still be hanging out. The group is not a l’orced thing. We have always been friends. made plans and plotted against people.‘ And these schemes are currently being hatched. Along with the show. there are T-shiits. a news zine. an internet web-site and a forthcoming national tour. Things are moving for Fill/I)“ Sim/i with their expectation busting intentions.
‘There may be no genre's lel‘t to exhaust but that's the problem with them anyway.‘ they say. ‘ll' you l tried hard enough. you might be able to lit lan‘s I painting into a genre, but you would get an awl'ul lot i more out of it. il’ you didn't bother.‘ The steam rises. | ‘The idea that some media are more relevant than I
others is a lot of pish too. All of us work in more than one medium and move about as it suits us. When something is appropriate. we do it.‘
Mate art: works by Filthy Swan artists lain Dickinson (left) and Douglas Payne
The results include ( irritation tpainting. Scott \Vaugh). ls 'l'rrri'r'l/tng ./II.\‘/ .Il llitstr' (ll 'Iinn’f' (photography. (iary Rough). (lit The .S'ln’lf Hailing
l'ill' A Partner 'Iit I‘M/ti xi (.,\'('l(’.\'.\’ lx’r'lutmtts/ti/i (sculpture. Douglas Payne). .l/lr't' lltuynwrrar. No. 9 Painting 'l'ltut \‘riitits l/tititii/m/ 'lii ('tm‘x It (lose/y I’m/loirr'il li’y Bonaparte (painting. lain Dickinson). .S'ritlu’llllllg 'Iit ll't'itr‘ Home :l/irllll (collaboration. Robert Johnson and Douglas Payne).
‘\\'e do not want people to go away w ith the wrong idea. We are not taking an anti~intellectual stance. but do not draw any distinction between high culture and low culture . 'l‘arkovsky.‘ 'l'hey intend to be llippant. serious and continue to defy categorisation. Mind your heads.
. Star Wars is brilliant. So is
Will! /.m'('. l-‘i/t/iy Swim is (ll 'I‘ruusniisstuti (Jul/er): (ilasgmi' until Wed [3 Mat:
Anne Lorenz makes no bones about it - you can’t beat baking bread or hanging out washing as a mind calmer in these hectic times. These activities otter mental relaxation believes Lorenz, a 25-year-old art student and an advocate of manual domestic tasks. ‘Dough and kneading absorbs the mind, allowing it to rest lor some minutes during the day, the same with petting out the washing,’ says Lorenz, who is so hooked on the beneﬁcial aspects ot these home-based activities she has taken them Into the public arena.
Last month Lorenz hung out an assortment of washing In the courtyard of Edinburgh’s Demarco Galleries for their show Young Scottish Artists. Entitled Spider’s Tale,
Kneading to need: Anne Lorenz
the washing gently swayed for three weeks, and on the opening night Lorenz performed a watty salt of dance piece beneath the washing. And judging by the number of people who stayed put in the chilly night air to spectate on the waiting washing and dance movements, Lorenz managed to achieve her aim of ‘wanting people to relax and switch oil’.
And Lorenz has also gone public and al fresco with her bread baking. Dn Valentine’s Day she constructed an open-air oven outside Edinburgh College oi Art, and with over 250 kilos of llour and bathtubs acting as bowls, she kneaded and baked from three in the afternoon to midnight. tier itinerant audience invited to fashion their own loaves, Lorenz tound the event, it not a tad exhausting, almost ritualistic: the repetitive movements of kneading, the oven as a shrine-like centrepiece, emitting warmth and good smells, and a congregation keen to get involved. The oven now blackened, along with aprons splattered with dried morsels ol dough
and some loaves is on show at the Students’ Art Exhibition at the Royal Scottish Academy. She had hoped to do a bit more baking lor the exhibition but with tire regulations it has proved impossible. But tor Lorenz this tardis ot a brick oven can hold its own. Lorenz, a linal year art student at Edinburgh College of Art, traces her interest in bread making to her childhood years in Germany, which every bread aficionado knows, is homeland to a host of brat. And now caught on being gregarious when it comes to creativity and happy to go public with her ideas, Lorenz teels there’s no returning to the closed off confines of the studio space. ‘I couldn’t go back to single object work behind studio doors,’ declares Lorenz, ‘I am going to occupy more and more space’. Clearly this is a woman with a Delia-like zeal to spread the word of the loys oi baking. (Susanna Beaumont) Students’ Art Exhibition is at the Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh until Wed 13 Mar.
70 The List 8-21 Mar 1996