NONG KONG ISLAND Tranmrission Gallery. Glasgow until Sat 8 Feb.
The impossible dreams of ten artists are being showcased in Hong K (mg Island. an exhibition at the Transmission. Their responses to the question of what constitutes an unrealisable project are found in the political. personal and psychological realms. Here are some choice cuts.
Kate Gray is offering you all unconditional love on 0l4l 552 1577. I advise all male ‘members' to ring this number now ~ it may prove a more rewarding experience than lavishing your own unconditional love on 22 strangers every Saturday. Alan Currall's video documents his parents‘ instructions on how to survive when the ship literally goes down. In a rare instance of useful parental advice. Mr Currall senior details how to drink the blood of a captured seagull. Beat that.
Elsewhere. Billy Clark takes you about as close as you‘ll ever get to the front door of Number l0 Downing Street. while Simon Polli exhibits a drawing of a block of flats on wheels - the council could consider this to help solve urban decay. The other pipe dreamers. Chris Evans. Kevin Kelly. Aoise Farren. David Wilkinson. Claire Barclay and Andy Miller. have all doodled away admirably. and with the addition of the unabornbers manifesto. this is a rich stew.
Now I‘ve been in their dreams. so they can be in mine. Waking up in a cold sweat. I saw an exhibition of all the rejected proposals for art shows in Scotland last year. Now that would be interesting. but that's another story . . . (John Beagles)
Illdlng high: Brendan Sowerksy’s poster oi biking record-breakers - part oi the iiong llong Island exhibition
Sketches from Central Scotland’s visual arts scene.
Gallery spaces can’t afford to rest on their laurels. There's a growing trend to ﬂing open the front door and show an in your own sitting room. Wish You Were Here Too sees Charles Esche — visual arts supremo at Glasgow's Tramway — showing works by 30 artists in the comfort of his (and his ﬂatmates’) own home. The line-up includes local heroes Douglas Gordon. Boss Sinclair and Christine Borland: plus others from further aﬁeld. such as American Sol lertt and France- based Pierre Bismuth. But it’s not a complete open-house. Hours are restricted. opening Fridays and Saturdays only from I lam—8pm. Sat 25 Jan-Fri l4 Feb. Esche lives at I/L.
83 Hill Street. Garnet Hill. Glasgow. Meanwhile. Glasgow‘s artist-run gallery. Transmission continues to push back the frontier and get heaps of praise along the way. The gallery crew are just back from the annual Art 97. a contemporary art bonanza held in lslington. North London. Given the honour of having a stand free of
charge. the Transmission gang was found in the esteemed ‘Showcase‘ section.
Very glossy and gorgeous is the first issue of1999. a new magazine looking at design and architecture in Glasgow. The publication forms part of the revving-up process to the city's reign as UK City of Architecture and Design. Championing ‘Icons OfGIasgow Style‘ such as Tunnock‘s Teacakes and Tennents Lager. 1999 shows there's more than just Mackintosh to the city.
There‘s still time to apply for The Richard liough Bursary for £5000. to be awarded to a Scotland-based artist working with photography. digital imaging or lens-based media. Applications are available from the Stills Gallery. 23 Cockburn St. Edinburgh. EI-ll lBl’; telephone ()l3l 225 9876.
HERE!— sumr. GUPTA
Portfolio Gallery, Edinburgh until Sat 15 Feb.
With talk oi Europe on the agenda and irequent blasts oi Euro-scepticism irom politicians, it is interesting to see an artist oiiering a diiierent take on the subject. Sunil Gupta, an Indian- born Canadian citizen who lives in london, certainly has the international credentials to cut through the Euro debate.
Tackling the notion that contemporary Euro culture and ‘llew Europe’ is simply shaped by a dominant European discourse, Gupta points out the presence at ‘hldden’ tactors in an exhibition at Edinburgh’s Portiolio. At a time when the phrase ‘ethnic cleansing’ is also hitting the headlines, Gupta wants us to sit up and take note.
Where better to kick oii than Essex? That once bland tract oi urban and rural land is now tirme tixed in the nation’s mind as the home oi upstarts - a particular breed oi man, woman and Toryism. In his digitally constructed large-scale photographs entitled Trespass 3, Gupta slices up Essex, altering the landscape through a process oi coliaging.
One photograph shows an oldish
Cultural collage: a digitally manipulated photograph by Sunll Gupta
couple walking along the seairont, glancing at one oi those touristy snack-cum-souvenir stands with ‘Teas’ written in large letters on the side. Disrupting this ‘ever so English’ vista is an image oi an Indian woman wielding an axe in a tield. By taming a kind oi triptych, Gupta iocuses on, not just the Brits’ most popular beverage, but the iact that its roots are In another continent. This sets oil
a mental chain reaction prompting thoughts oi exploitation and colonialism.
llowever interesting Gupta’s intentions though, the storyline is sometimes lost. images clash and collide but the crucial new narrative is obscured. You can’t help thinking there are poweriul metaphors struggling to get out. (Susanna Beaumont)
LUCIEN FBEUD: EARLY WORKS
Scottish National Gallery omelern Ari. Edinburgh. until Sun I3 Apr: Think of Lucien Freud and zebras probably won’t spring to mind. But judging by this exhibition of early works. zebras were quite a thing for the young Freud. There are four of the striped equines on show. In Quince On A Blue Table. a zebra sticks its head through a window; while in Painter Is Room a zebra — this time its stripes are red — is shown in the company of an elegant sofa. Bold and bright in vibrant colour. there’s something magically surreal about the two paintings. They seem light years away from Freud’s later canvases devoted to undulating. ﬂeshy terrain of naked bodies slumped on sofas.
Bringing together paintings. drawings
and one sculpture. all dating from I936 to I945. the show is an insight into Freud‘s early exploratory years between the ages of I3 and 22. There‘s a Miro-style bird-filled mythical scene and a delicately executed pen and ink drawing of Loch Ness. made on a visit to Scotland in I943 and reputed to be his one and only landscape.
Yet you get hints of Freud‘s later brilliant painterly descriptions of faces and ﬂesh. and that brooding sense of ennui that so often inhabits his paintings. In a self-portrait from I940. he is shown roundish in face. his cheeks ﬂecked and textured with rich layering browny coloured paint. and almond-shaped. slightly quizzical eyes. The painting seems to exhale a tangible air of melancholy. Likewise with Eraruee Boy of I942. which puts one in mind of German Expressionism with its suggestion ofthe grotesque. A boy with sticky-out ears. gap-teeth and thinking eyes — it‘s a striking portrait
Youth club: luclen Freud’s The Village Boys (1942)
of knarled. embittered youth. (Susanna Beaumont)
62 The List 24 Jan-6 Feb I997