Dnce bitten: a patient at Anita Wohlén’s apple hospital
Collective Gallery. Edinburgh until Sui
Work by two Swedish artists appears at the Collective in the second part ofa collaboration between the gallery and Halland & Norbotten County Council in Sweden. Also showing in two other Edinburgh venues — the British Council and the Royal Scottish Academy — Sonderingar brings seven Swedish artists to town.
The general conclusion on the exchange seems to be that there are more similarities than differences between artists working in northern Europe. One artist explains the connection very simply as ‘ the way in which conceptual work is presented in a gallery space and the kind of statements made about everyday life’. At the Collective. Agneta Gethcsson and Anita Wohle’n show a sense of humour. tackling common issues such as the stress of modern life and forms of social control.
Gothesson tells us to unwind in her installation Try To Relax. She has placed quietly humming electrical footbaths filled with bubbling water. encircled by shower curtains. around the room. It’s a tempting invitation to strip and soak your tired feet. regardless of passers-by. But Wohlén‘s installation may correct your weakness for temptation. She recounts the story of a little village in northern Sweden where locals were known to eat too many apples. This inspired her to set up an apple hospital to treat the victims of nasty apple munchers. Set on pedestals or small shelves against the wall. half eaten apples are displayed. And the perpetrators of apple abuse have had their mouths cast in latex. Sewn together to form a canopy suspended like a hammock across the gallery. it’s a register of hundreds of apple-eating culprits. However. without Wohlen's own explanation. some of the best bits ofthe story would be missed. But her installation cleverly makes the point that being funny and ironic is often the best way to challenge the way we behave — and what we eat. (Tanya Stephan)
BEH- crnrs HIGH
Dld Fruitmarket, Glasgow until Tue 12 llov. talking about the influence of london’s Goldsmiths College on contemporary art may be old hat these days, but for sheer success ratings, it still cannot beat the Environmental Art Department at Glasgow School of Art. Celebrating ten years of the department nurturing bright young things, Girls lligh at the Dld Fruitrnarket, is a role call of the already - and almost - great and good who have passed through Glasgow School of Art. Work by Christine Borland, Douglas Gordon, Jonathan Monk, Martin Boyce, David Shrigley et al may never appear again together, so it’s well worth checking them out. There’s no missing Boss Sinclair’s Aggressive Utopian Croft Model, a cosy hut built on stilts and roofed with fake grass. It is daubed in polemical graffiti declaring ‘shit outside’, ‘live
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Scritti politti: Boss Sinclair’s Aggressive Utopian Croft model
from day to day’ and ‘plan ahead’ - every message is tull of contradictions, every ideal besmirched by fakery and compromise. I don’t know whether to laugh, sombrer shake my head or curse Sinclair’s lack of staying power. Doing all three, I find I like the work even more.
In another space, Stefanie Bourne has recreated Glasgow’s Paddy’s Market. Being a paddy myself, I applaud it but wonder what the two authentic traders make of the art viewing public viewing their wares.
Further on, lain Kettles and Susie llunter continue their bizarre work with large inflatable objects. Called Between 7 G 13, it involves a silver ladder to the second floor of the Dld Fruibnarket - one sure to collapse. In contrast, Toby Webster’s cool, sound sculpture features the archetypal drug-pusher mobil, the BMW, with smoked windows and a thumping PA. We’re not getting invited to this party - we’re left to paw the paintwork. Maybe Webster will give me a lift some day. (Paul Welsh)
The Matthew Architecture Gallery, Edinburgh until Wed 13 llov.
Patricia and Angus MacDonald have a magical partnership. She is a doctor in biological science turned artist and writer. lie is a professor of architecture with a pilot’s licence and together they have ventured into the world of aerial photography.
At first glance, many of Patricia MacDonald’s photographs are beautifully composed, resonant with colour and curious abstract shapes of the landscape in Scotland, Spain and llorth Africa. But what she captures with her privileged bird’s-eye view is ironically about destruction. In Blanket Dog And Felted Forest, the mountain face has been stripped by erosion. A loch in File stunnineg coloured in copper and gold is the legacy of mining pollution.
Covering ten years, Site shows landscapes relating to urbanism and the consequence of human intervention in nature. In revisiting the same site over several years, MacDonald has documented some dramatic transformations. Iler aerial photographs of Craigmillar make for
Bird’s eye view: Patricia MacDonald’s aerial photograph, ‘Shed’
an extraordinary series entitled A Decade 0! Housing Strategies. Tracing the history of the estate on the outskirts of Edinburgh from its early days to the present development, it is startling to view.
By playing with symmetry and the matching of contrasting pictures, MacDonald’s photographs form an absorbing exhibition which hopefully will make you look in wonder and then look again. (tanya Stephan)
STAY ON YOUR OWN FOR SLIGHTLY LONGER
Trmtsntissum Gallery. Glasgow until Sat 9 Nov.
In the past. Scandinavians have arrived in Britain bringing blood, noise and mayhem. There's no guessing what those wam'ors would make of the peace generated by their artistic descendants.
Stay On Your Own For Slightly Longer at Transmission - part of I Am Curious, a rnulti-gallery exhibition split between London and Glasgow - brings four young Swedish artists to Scotland. Gently probing sensitive areas - identity, personal and geographical isolation. anxiety, etc - this is no art bashing show. Thor. the Norse god of thunder, keeps quiet.
Claiming influences ranging from the modernist aesthetic minus the message, there's Ander Widoff’s funny sculpture Winter Turning Summer. and dubious rock and pop references made in Annika von Hausswolff’s pn'nt series The Sad But Moral Tale. . . All proving through their mixed-media approach that diversity exists in a country often noted for its clean cut designs.
Simultaneously exemplifying both the appeal and failing of the group’s softly-
softly approach is Henrik Hakansson‘s War Of The Worlds. His installation features a colony of stick insects. blackberry plants and an interactive audience - but nothing much happens. Life has evolved to the point of complete camouflage and perfect stillness. Walking round the work, it quickly becomes like a meditation.
In his ultimate artwork. Hakansson says he would ‘set space free. fly into it and disappear‘. Like this exhibition. rt's all a bit too airy fairy. (Paul Welsh)
Art Therapy and Art Extraordinary in Scotland
28th Sept « 2nd Nov
Tues—Sat 10am'5pm FREE
Linked conference 30th Oct - 2nd Nov 0131 650 2211 for info
TALBOT RICE GALLERY UNIVERSITY OF EDINBURGH OLD COLLEGE. SOUTH BRIDGE
The List I-l4 Nov I996 71