CHINESE ART REVIEW * * ‘k *
GATEWAY TO THE SILK ROAO
Looking like a hefty bouncer giving an interloper a bit of a rough titne and with a ‘don't mess with rne‘ look. Guardian Tian Wang trarnples a demon under foot. Wearing armour and a peacock- shaped helmet. this earthenware Tang dynasty warrior once warded off evil spirits from a burial chamber in the Chinese city of Xi‘an. Now he‘s on show with a host of other tomb models and ancient Chinese artifacts from Xi'an. one-time imperial capital of China and oft described as Asia's answer to Rome.
Gateway 7}) The Silk Road reveals the brilliance of an and craft of ancient Xi‘an. Dating from the Han to Tang dynasties (206—90680. many of these works have not been seen in the West — appropriately they get their debut in Edinburgh. Xi‘an's twinned city. Exquisite statuettes ofcounly ladies. still with painted ruby red lips. sit -
Merchant on a horse: a Tang Dynasty tomb model
astride horses while a troupe of hunters with ferocious expressions are off to bag some game. With informative texts printed on yellow stretches of silk which detail the rise of Buddhism through to the history of the silk worm. Xi‘an is illuminated as a truly splendid ancient epicentre of commerce and cosmopolitan culture. (Susanna Beaumont)
I Gateway To The Silk itoad City Art Centre. 529 3993. until 5 Oct. Mon-Sat lOam—5.30pm; Sun noon-5pm. £3 (£2).
PAINTING REVIEW * t *
VELAZOUEZ IN SEVILLE
As an artist of pomp and chintzy circumstance, Velazquez, court painter to Spain’s ilapsburg monarch Philip Ill, painted lux interiors peopled by doublet and hosed courtiers, bearded royals atop their steeds and a host of grand women with grand hairdos. But before the courtly glitz were Velazquez’s Seville days and paintings at humble kitchen interiors and dingy tavems. Velazquez In Seville, the liational Gallery Di Scotland’s Festival exhibition, focuses on these early years before the artist's departure to Madrid in 1623.
Born in Seville in 1599, Velazquez’s early works are predominantly dark, intense studies of domestic life. Men and young boys seated at tables set with earthenware tlagons of drink, bread and fruit, and women In the
Diego ilelézquez: An Old Woman Cooking Eggs
“In; .g 1
kitchen among the pots and pans - the National’s An Old Woman Booking Eggs being the prime example. This series of paintings, entitled bodegones - Spanish eateries and drinking holes - are not so much still lifes of everyday paraphernalia but studies of human life.
Yet this is a show that’s stronger on context than content. From Seville marmalade and wine labelled with Velazquez repros on sale at the ticket stand, which seems to be masquerading as a Spanish bar, to the panoramic views oi 17th century Seville and engravings of fruitsellers by his contemporaries, this exhibition is short on visual highs and Velazquez proper. It’s an interesting look at Velazquez’s artistic calm before the storming oi the Spanish court. (Susanna Beaumont)
Velazquez In Seville National Gallery of Scotland, 556 8921, until 20 act, Mun-Sat 10am-6pm; Sun 11am-6pm, £4 (£2.50).
MIXED MEDIA REVIEW * ‘k *
Pencil drawings of camels, elephants and kangaroos float constellation-like on paper. Irregular verbs and Persian phrases are embroidered on to a multi- coloured grid oi fabric. These are two works by the italian artist, Doetti who was at the forefront of the famous Arte Povera (Poor Art) movement of the 60s.
The buzzwords for Arte Povera were deculturation, the return to the primitive, spontaneity and, to confuse matters, weighty conceptual ideas and theories about the relationship oi art to culture and politics. When Doetti, who died in 1994 at the age of 54, created a photographic montage of himself walking with himself in the woods, he was introducing a split identity which he called Alighiero and Boetti. lie was breaking new ground yet his work was always more random and experimental than the art movement itself. Time, which is the
Double vision: Boetti's Twins, 1%8
key theme in this modest exhibition, offers the chance to reflect the poetic and sometimes obscure work which Doetti produced. (Tanya Stephan) Allghiero Boetti, lstltufo Italiano Di Culture, 668 2232, until 30 Aug, Mon—Fri 9am-5pm.
PHOTOGRAPHY REVIEW * t *
PRAYER AHO OESPAIR
Noisy - chaotic — mobbed - in the midst of Festival bedlarn. think still moments of reflective peace. Now head for Pradip Malde’s Prayer Am! Despair. one photography exhibition offering a little sanctuary this month. Mixing portraits. still-life and mixed- rnedia. you’ll find moments ofbeauty in these images from Japan. Russia and India. Using platinum and palladium printing. people. monasteries. temples. trees and mind (Zen aphon'sms). the works weave a very personal portrait of the artist. Contemplative. questing. questioning. this impresses but unfortunately a significant number of works are neither grand nor minimal in design and make little impression.
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Views from abroad: a photographic work by Pradip Malde
Really there's prayer and despair in equal measure. (Paul Welsh)
I Prayer And Despair Pradip Malde. Edinburgh College Of An. 221 6000, until 31 Aug. Mon—Sun IOam—Spm.
Model front: an architectural scheine from Allan Murray
ARCHITECTURE REVIEW * t *
WATER IN THE CITY
There inevitably comes a point when it seems that you are drowning in Festival hyperbole. Escape that sinking feeling and go full immersion with this teasing exhibition on contemporary architecture: Water In The City: Myth And Technology.
The RlAS‘s gallery space has been transformed beyond recognition by Allan Murray Architects. They have created an installation which invites us
to swim through time — back to the Garden of Eden and to the genesis of myth and forward to the new millennium and the era of new technologies. Space is manipulated. tardis-like. with a bank of mirrors that stretch the room to infinity. A scroll of text sets out the thesis (the mythological power of water) while slide carousels repeat a loop of evocative images with a mysterious soundtrack (Chinese water torture?) Forget your arm bands and take a dip. (Mark Cousins)
I Water in The City: Myth And Technology RIAS Gallery. 229 7545. until l2 Sept. Mon-Fri 9am—5pm; Sat IOam—4pm.
Review star ratings
1k * t t * Unmlssable a 1t t * Very good
i t * Worth seeing 1k 1k Below average it You’ve been warned
so The List 23 Aug-5 Sept I996