RUSSIAN GOLD Barrel] Collection. Glasgow until Mon 3 I Mar. Oh dear. After seeing Russian Gold: 7rcasures ()f The Warrior Tombs at the Burrell Collection. insult was added to injury when an attempt to sup in the restyled restaurant was foiled by staff cutbacks. With halfthe restaurant shut and visitors effectively turned away. the impoverished state of our municipal and national authorities — all too evident in the exhibition itself — was confirmed. Where is all the money today: there seemed to be plenty around 2000 years ago?
This show celebrating the now extinct cultures of the Scythians and Sarmatians who ruled the Russian
Busslan pot: probably a Greek-styled vase dating from the late 4th century Bc
Steppes SOOBC—SOOAD. offers some stunning work. Discovered in tombs across a region stretching from the Danube to the Don. belt plates. plaques. bracelets. bowls and quivers testify to the sophistication of a nomadic culture. Perhaps it was out ofenvy that classical scholars so often dismissed these people as barbarians.
With such history to draw on. why is this exhibition so dry? Perhaps I‘m showing my age. but with plenty of new technology — CD-ROM. video and audio-loops — the curators could have pushed the boat out and conveyed a real sense of time and place. Instead. this is a dull. old-fashioned exhibition with heavy wall-texts and no seats. And deadly quiet - probably reminiscent of the graves that yielded this exhibition's treasures. (Paul Welsh)
[Elim— ART nu ma unorncnoouo
Partlck and St Enoch’s underground stations, Glasgow, permanent.
There has always been more to subway culture than keeping your head down, avoiding eye contact and sleeping oil iatigue in a tunnel. Unique to cities, this popular ionn oi transport has spawned poems, iilms, posters and art. llow add two installations to the list, commissioned by Strathclyde Passenger Transport to celebrate the centenary oi Glasgow’s underground system.
Apart irom easing today’s road congestion, Scotland’s only ‘clockwork orange’ is a monument to the past (once-ﬂourishing stations like the Gorbal’s Bridge Street station now stand in housing deserts). But will these commemorative artworks iare as well over the decades?
At St Enoch’s - the iirst station opened on Glasgow’s underground - there’s an artwork by Mark Firth. It consists oi two robust stainless steel columns, one stretching trom root to iloor, the other spliced in hall and engraved with vital statistics - track width and length; tunnel radius and height. Oblique and lncongruent, this Is an eye-catching reminder oi the
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Mark Flrth’s Ghthonlc column industry behind your impending, smooth iourney.
Round the circle at Partick, Bavid Mach’s lite-size photographs show commuters against montage postcard backgrounds - presumany iinal destinations or places visited using the underground. A mother lrolics past with her children en route to Glasgow Green. An elderly iisherman dreams ol Loch lomond. ll shopper heads home to llillhead. This is the human iace oi the urban marvel. Parked in the middle oi their respective concourses, at least those two unmissable objects make the commuting experience a
M TURNER WATEBGGLOUBS
National Gallery 0! Scotland, Edinburgh until, Fri 31 Jan.
Turner may have died 146 years ago, but his reputation as one oi the great British artists endures, and even increases with age. It his name ever does iind itseli in the shadows, the annual and otten controversial Turner Prize - ior the young things oi contemporary British art compete — brings his name it not his art back to the lore.
Meanwhile, Edinburgh has its own annual Turner ritual. Every January since the turn oi the century, the National Gallery 0t Scotland has displayed its collection oi Turner watercolours, which were bequeathed to the city in 1900 by the wealthy london collector, llenry Vaughan. llaving amassed a vast private
collection, Vaughan stipulated that the 38 Turner watercolours could only be exposed during January, when the light is at its most watercolour- iriendly. With today’s sophisticated lighting controls, the watercolours could saier be shown at any time oi year; but the llational Gallery respectiully adheres to Vaughan’s request.
The collection otters a good run through Turner’s career. There are topographical studies ol the British landscape and later watercolours recording his travels through the Continent. llis painting of Heidelberg irom the 1840s is a gorgeous glowing mood study in orange, in which a painted bridge and a crowd oi people are almost lost in Turner’s meditative play oi light and colour. It’s a good example oi the pioneer indications in Turner’s work; a suggestion that the only way forward was abstraction. (Susanna Beaumont)
Venice view: Turner’s watercolour oi the lilalto
BEEP— DARKNESS VISIBLE
Jara [it'liibilion Space. Glasgow until Sun [2 Jan.
All has given the urinal a degree of liberation from the usual scummy lavs this century. Duchamp. in a memorable Dadaist satirical blast. renamed one of the familiar piss pots Fountain and placed it in a gallery. Now almost 80 years on. Glasgow artist Steve Hollingsworth has brought two such porcelain items to Java.
Entitled Deal/i Piss — It's So Fucking Cold I 'm Pissing Ice Cubes. Hollingsworth’s lavatorial art consists of two wall-mounted urinals with curls of neon-lit tubing nestling in their bowls. You get the point. but the work is disappointing. even on the laddish charm front.
Hollingsworth‘s installation with two chairs is more interesting. Looking as if they once belonged in a village hall. these chairs are robbed of function — no Women's Institute backside would go near them. Hollingsworth has transformed one by removing the canvas seat. leaving a skeletal frame which is lit with a flow of neon-lit tubing. The other chair's curving form seems at ﬁrst glance to be coated with polystyrene. But once you become aware of an an air of coolness and a humming motor positioned beneath the seat. you realise it is covered with glistening ice.
little more interesting. (Paul Welsh)
Sharing Java's space is Stefanie
Bourne's installation .S'usliinori .S'caweeil. Bourne has made what is best described as curtains from rectangles of green sushi seaweed. meticulously linked together. It makes for a sea water-scented labyrinth. Some fragments of seaweed catch the light and shine in luminous green. and as you weave in between them. they shimmer in the breeze. Delving deeper into the labyrinth. you find projected on to an expanse of white muslin a video of kaleidoscopic spiralling angular forms. It‘s a beautiful. intriguing work and on the smell front at least. will improve with age. (Susanna Beaumont)
Electrlc chair: Steve llolllngsworth’s
88 The List 10-23 Jan I997