Edinburgh: Collective Gallery until Sat 19 Jul.
With the club scene becoming an ever more integral part of the nation’s cultural identity, it should come as no surprise to find artists using the wonder of the weekend as a starting point for their work. TR808 at the Collective Gallery takes in everything from karaoke and photos of raves through to club flyers to show there is art in club culture.
’We’ve been keen to do something for a while which dealt with the impact of clubs,’ says Sarah Munro, director of the gallery. ’It’s the biggest youth movement since the 605 and does affect a lot of people, something that a lot of artists as individuals are involved with personally.’
Artists have always drawn references from their environment and this group of seven, including artist-cum-musician Jeremy Deller, are actively involved in the scene. Sourcing inspiration from this sphere is as valid as any other. Professional club photographer Wendy House shows photos taken at large-scale raves round the country, exploring the events’ tribal nature. Ako Sasao, a Glasgow School Of Art student, has indulged her fanatical admiration for DJ and producer Andy Weatherall by creating a video piece involving a figure with a Weatherall mask singing karaoke. ‘She was so into him when she was down in London, he was a complete guru figure,’ says Munro. ’Now she’s turned him into a piece of artwork, quite a personal thing.’
Graham Ramsay, one of the show’s organisers and exhibitors, feels now is the perfect time for the exhibition. ‘A lot of artists in the last two to three years have been looking at art in the wider context, judging it
The art of clubbing: Wendy house's rave scene snap
against other forms of culture and finding it wanting in certain ways,’ he says. ’They are finding other forms more stimulating than traditional forms of art.’
One of the aims of TR808 was to make the gallery more accessible and acceptable to people who might have been previously unimpressed by the naval gazing art establishment. ’If you’re not within the art circle, a gallery can seem a bit elitist, with art just relating to art,’ Munro admits. ’I think it's really important to see a younger audience who wouldn’t usually come into a place like this and have a laugh.’
The exhibition is named after an early drum machine, a reference people in the club world will understand. It is the sort of iconographic cultural in-joke some of the art crowd might take a little longer to get. (Rory Weller)
Surrealism And After: The Gabrielle Keiller
Edinburgh: Scottish National Gallery Of Modern Art. Sat 5 Jul—Sat 9 Nov.
The Surrealists were apparently partial to playing games. It may be hard to imagine, but the Surrealist gang would on occasion settle into an evening of playing the archetypal parlour game, Consequences. Except the Surrealists being Surrealists dubbed the game Cadavre exquis — Exquisite Corpse — and saw it as ’an infallible method of
Undersea: Eileen Agar's Fish Circus from 1936
overruling the mind's critical faculties and completely liberating its capacity for metaphor.’
That is according to the self-styled 'pope’ of Surrealism, Andre Breton. The Surrealists sure managed to put a twist on the commonplace. But then that is what their work was all about.
The legacy of one game lives on. The joint effort of Breton, his wife Jacqueline Lamba and artist Yves Tanguy, it forms part of what is probably the UK’s richest collection of Surrealist memorabilia and art works. The Gabrielle Keiller Collection was bequeathed to the Scottish National
Gallery Of Modern Art in 1995 on Keiller's death and is to go on public show for the first time.
Keiller was a one-time champion golfer — she was practically born on a North Berwick golf course when her parents were on a golfing holiday in 1908. She married Dundee marmalade magnate Alexander Keiller, one of Britain's last private collectors of Surrealist and Dada art works.
Keiller’s collection includes over 170 works by the likes of Surrealist and Dada heavyweights Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst, Dali and Magritte. It is described by gallery keeper Richard Calvocoressi as the most important gift ever made to the gallery, featuring one of the century's most significant art movements.
'The Surrealists’ impact has been enormous and is still being felt in advertising and TV,’ says Calvocoressi. 'They were visual revolutionaries whose influence can be seen in the work of, say, Damien Hirst. Both the sense of anarchy and provocation in their work has a continuing relevance today.’ (Susanna Beaumont)
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Edinburgh: Fruitmarket Gallery until Sat 26 Jul. *ir‘k‘k
Bill Viola is one of the leading exponents of video art and this important show is the first time his work has been seen in Scotland. Born in
1951 in the US, Viola has been involved in video art since the mid-70s
Fire, Water, Air is a characteristically poetic, spiritual and philosophical exploration of the human condition. While technology is often used today by artists to spread their message, it remains an unknown, shaping our destinies.
Viola uses the human form on his chosen canvas, its interaction with elemental forces serving as a series of metaphors for beautiful and tragic explorations of the soul.
The Messenger, Viola's controversial work originally commissioned for and shown in Durham Cathedral, shows a figure continuously emerging from and sinking into a pool. Water is both sinister and frightening, comforting and safe, and as we gaze, unable to fully understand the image, our perception of it changes.
The number of frames per second is reduced and time is effectively slowed — the distortions of form and colour created by the water's optical properties are gripping. Water is the womb from which the child never emerges — a simultaneous death and birth.
See this show and prepare to be moved. (Giles Sutherland)
The Messenger by Bill Viola
Glasgow: Street Level, until Sun 12 Jul. *1"ka
Now here’s a strange one. I don’t like the sum total of Peter Max Kandhola’s Significant Shadows at Street Level, but the exhibition should be seen. In heavy wooden frames, Kandhola’s photographs verge on sculpture. Corroded and decomposing, they have been aged to make them unplaceable. Like family heirlooms, each suggests past times — people and cherished experiences fading away. Technically, the work is assured, combining delicate printing with industrial fixing — staples, bolts, Sellotape — holding everything together. So far, so strong, but there are weak moments. ’Penetrating The Secrets Of Nature Part I‘ - a solarised flower - is one. ’History Of Man (Noir) Part 1’ another. These seem to offer little. The real problem, though, is that it's all too rich — a baroque excess. Like delicious caramel shortbread, one bite is enough. Never try to digest a kilo. (Paul Welsh)
27 Jun—10 Jul 1997 THELIST77