_ JOHN GOTO lets his imagination run
wild and in the digital age he has
technology at his fingertips.
"remix: Paul Welsh
You may not have noticed. but after the recent budget
(‘hancellor (iordon Brown appeared as a Spice Girl
(ioto's narrative driven work
in the tabloid press. It could have been more New Labour vote-snatching but rest assured. the man from life would never wear a Wonderbra for any cause. Besides. they don't come big enough. Obviously it was the work of an astute picture editor. This straightforward exercise was accomplished using commonplace computer technology.
.-\ssai|ed by this type of imagery. digital storage and the manipulation of photographs. many commentators have declared the end of photography as an artform. .lohn (ioto‘s T/IF [Vivi/12ers Collection at lidinburgh's l’ortl'olio. however. puts this idea quickly and deftly to the sword.
l'sing text and image. features a character. The liramer. who has carefully amassed a collection of paintings and photographs spanning the 20m century. ()n the opening night of showing this collection in a gallery. he takes a series of photographs. and at l’ortfolio we see these photographs.
liverything is an illusion. The imaginary gallerv has been designed by (‘omputer Aided Design. liach picture is a montage of real scenes and characters supplemented by (ioto‘s imagination. And. of course. the l‘ramcr strolling through each picture is the artist himself. \lixing fact with fiction. this richly textured. entertainingv \yorl. questions many things. not least history. memory and what makes a person's world real.
'I was ney er really a straight photographer.‘ explains (ioto. 'so I saw computers as a dream come
true.’ John Goto
68 US“? .H Jo: i""/'
'l was never really a straight photographer, so I saw computers as a dream come
Private view: John Goto's surreal look at gallery goers
true. I‘ve been working digitally for four years. but before that l was already interested in photomontage using traditional darkroom cut and paste techniques. With this technology. though. you can be infinitely more accurate and faster.‘
Goto‘s work certainly is accurate. In his pictures within pictures. images range from early 20th century portraits in oil. to stark black and white photographs of Scandinavian funeral processions. boasting ghosts and mourners of equal clarity. Of these. a proportion are archive material. the rest created specifically for the work. Combined with new media. Goto places the work within a historical painting tradition and insists computers are particularly well suited to researching and refraining history.
‘For me. the technology is not futuristic.‘ he says. ‘Computers don‘t have an essence. but they imitate and inter-relate different approaches very well. You can buy software for writing. photography. drawing or painting. for instance. (‘omputers are very good at exploring the past.‘
As you wander through the virtual gallery on the wall. Goto’s accompanying short stories provide a starting point for further imaginings. iiach text is a tantalising glimpse into some uncertain past. The artist's mingling of real events with fiction is seamless. ('atch a glimpse of the Mackerel l'nion. an exclusive London (‘lub celebrating its annual dinner. 01' a still from The III/tr'rilunct'. a 20s l'ilm featuring one scene which scandalised British aristocracy. There is even evidence to help solve a Nth century murder.
"l‘he exhibition represents the prison of my imagination.’ (into reflects. ‘At this time. with what I know and what I have experienced. it's the sum of my past.‘ As this show and (iordon Brown‘s imagined slimmed down girth suggest. documentary truth may be out of the window. but an exotic. stimulating new world has walked through the door.
John Goto's The Framer’s Collection is at Portfolio, Edinburgh until 26 Jul.
Murmurs, musings and going-ans from the art world.
AN ARTIST-LED gallery is to open in Glasgow. Fly, an offshoot of FUSE, the organisation behind numerous groups shows of young Glasgow- based artists, is situated in the city's east end. Setting out to show the hottest artists in town, their first show Fly 1 includes work by Richard Wright, Ian Kettles, Susie Hunter and Rory Donaldson. Fly 1 opens on 12 July at 332 Duke Street, 0141 551 8810.
MEANWHILE, IN AN ‘empty urban living space‘ in Glasgow's Govanhill, artists are creating what they call new digital furnishings for PLACEmadeMOBILE. In collaboration with older residents of the area, Kaffe Matthews and Mandy McIntosh plan to furnish 329 Allison Street with material originated in a flat in London's Hackney. Digital features include a blue velvet sonic armchair. Curious? Contact Paula on 0141 552 3436.
CCA'S LOTTERY-FUNDED refurbishment looks unlikely to happen until next spring. The plans are still sketchy but it's probable the Glasgow organisation will find a temporary base while the extensive refit of their Sauchiehall Street home takes place. Guiding CCA through the changes will be Francis McKee, who has just been appointed head of artistic programme. McKee, a researcher, curator and the man behind their recent Animal exhibition, will programme dance and music as well as art shows. He's also setting out to bring ’new technologies' to the space.
THE ARTS TRUST Of Scotland has recently been launched. Administered by the Scottish Arts Council (SAC), the independent trust has been established through a £700,000 bequest from the Shepley Trust, and aims to support artists working in Scotland. For further information contact Sylvia Dow at the SAC.
T0 MARK WORLD Aids Day on 1 December, an art competition has been announced by the Health Education Authority (HEA). There are no strict guidelines on the subject matter, but winning entries could be reproduced on t-shirts and posters. Artwork must be in two dimensions only, and the closing date is 3 November. For further details call Louise Ansari at HEA on 01714131970.
Digital furnishings: a Govanhill interior