Eva Schlegel 8: Ilse


Glasgow: Street Level until Sat 8 Nov *ir

Sex isn't very popular in the Scottish art world. Well at least not the sex that is the theme of Fotofeis. Judging by the limited participation of prominent galleries in the festival, you could be forgiven for thinking this strategic withdrawal was indicative of a prurient backlash. In fact, it could be the lack of quality work that deterred many venues from taking the plunge. Certainly Street Level’s show, featuring the work of Eva Schlegel and Ilse Haider, bears this out.

The publicity describing Schlegel’s photographs was intriguing. lt suggested they showed male brothel clients having sexual intercourse, camouflaged by fake beards. A naked Groucho Marx came to mind. It was disappointing therefore, that there was not one hint of a fake beard in the images, despite painstakingly searching among the interlocking genitalia.

Schlegel asserts that what she found interesting (and by implication what we should find interesting) about these found photographs is that despite being taken at the height of the sexual revolution, they retain an old fashioned feel. Well who says the swinging 60s’ sexual revolution was all encompassing? ls it really that much of a shock to find that this brothel carried on regardless of the noises of sexual liberation who got the best deal out of free love anyway?

The banality of this remark coupled with the redundant use of coloured lacquer, all point to an artist trying too hard to make found material look interesting. Stay at home and either have or think about sex it'll be more fun. (JB)


84 THEUST 23 Oct —6 Nov 1997

ex de Medici

Glasgow: Project Ability until Fri 7 Nov *ivk

Terri likes dragons. Leif sports a vulture. Dan goes for a skull. Three people who have one thing in common they all have tattoos.

For eight years, photographer eX de Medici has snapped customers in US and Australian tattoo parlours. A selection of these colour images - large format laser prints - entitled 60 Heads line the exhibition space. The effect is quietly powerful.

In recent years, tattoos have become increasingly popular and politicised. To a limited extent body ownership and self-image have been wrestled from mainstream advertising. 60 Heads shows how far people go to create satisfying personal advertising mythologies.

Steeped in symbolism, tattoos build identity. These graphically manipulated bodies tell the story. (PW)


Glasgow: 18 King Street until Sat 8 Nov * *

Prologue is a Fotofeis sex show. it features the work of Trace, a group of young, Scottish-based artists specialising in photography, lens-based media, performance and digital technology.

While the work is technically competent and occasionally humorous, it too often follows well worn tracks and in one case takes an established cliche into new areas of banality.

There should be a ban on any artwork depicting objects, fruit or especially hands made to look like a vagina. ln Prologue Michele Lazenby enters this cliche market with a colour photograph of an oyster. A bit like the amusing vegetable section of That’s Life. (JB)



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Suzi 1989 ex de Medici from 60 Heads

Virtue And Vice, Motel Vilma Vlas

Edinburgh: Mansfield Place Church until Sun 9Nov *irir'k . ' ~ . The‘trouble with Fofofeis is this. It rides the thematic bandwagonwith- more vigour than it programmes its shows. Sex. as we all now know. year’s theme but there is noun like a half-hearted affair. ' 7 * 5 ‘2

Hanging photos taken backstage at erotic dancing clubs, in say a ban-aces- _ no one any favours. Surely the 'have-beens' or just the plain indifferent shows that get cosy under the Fofofeis banner should be cast out. Betterar dozen strong shows that tackle sex head-on than a plethora of hangersoon.

That said. at the deconsecrated Mansfield Place Church - an awesome. space in itself with its cycle of murals by 19th century artist Phoebe ‘l'raquair - the mood is strong and contemplative.

At the far end of the space hang photographic images by Australian artist Dennis Del Favero. Abstract, ‘blue-rinse' shots of the naked body. they aren't intrinsically powerful. Rather it's the captions that pull you up bythe scruff of the neck. Quotes from testimonials made by victims and perpetrators of the Bosnian rape camp, Motel Vilina Vlas,- sit beneathfthe images. They stir. Easy tactics perhaps, but effective. Rape is not officially, recognised as a war crime. and here you get a small sense of not just ethnic cleansing but the horrors of ethnic insemination. I

Elsewhere hang works from Sheffield's Site Gallery’s touring exhibition, Virtue and Vice. Subtitled 'derivations of allegory in contemporary photography' the work by seven artists is a present-day interrogation of meaning in disguise. Helen Chadwick's deliciously garish arrangement of household cleaning fluids. overlaid with a daisy chain. is a multi-layered tease. The noxious needn't be repellent but intriguineg sensual. Everything is not simply what you presume it to be.

Dany Leriche's hi-colour, hi-gloss, digitally-produced photowork. Isabelle et Dominque is a take on Holbein's symbolism-soaked painting The Ambassadors. Standing naked, the two women survey the spectator with the same studied assurance as Holbein’s corpulent ambassadors. But Leriche has managed a brilliant takeover. It's a kind of art historical coup

d'état of an ‘old master’. (SB)

: f

Dany Leriche‘s Isabelle et Dominique on show in Vitue and Vice at Mansfield Place.



Flystrips, Coming Apart and Pollen Patch

Glasgow: The Arches until Sun 9 Nov ** *

Home to rampant clubs and regular theatre, The Arches in Glasgow is also a great venue for art. Squashed beneath the city's Central Station, the red brick vaults lend themselves well to Fotofeis.

Wander under one vault and you get stuck into Robert Hornsby’s Flystrips, which masquerades as real, yellowish, killer flystrips As you draw near and spot dead flies stuck to the lethal paper, you realise the strips have pornographic images on them. The metaphor is Simple but effective.

One of three Video works, Coming Apart by Australia's Scenario URBANO is screened in a boxed-in space. Inspired by the real-life suicide of American porn star Alex South, its wide-angled coital shots are intriguing, but after you have sussed it out, the

piece becomes less interesting. Far more tired, though, is Robyn Stacey's Pol/en Patch. Huge, garish photographic images of flowers play on the analogy to sexual organs.

Elsewhere, hanging at angles beneath another arch, are Ann Shelton's photographs of life on the underside in New Zealand. Other promised attractions such as interactive digital works were not to be seen.

A sign warns that the work is ’frank and challenging . . . consider this before entering the space’. Yet the show does not really equal the sum of private parts on display. (PW)

REVIEWERS THIS ISSUE: John Beagles, Susanna Beaumont, Paul Welsh

STAR RATINGS ti ** * Unmissable t t t it Very ood * t t Wort a shot it it Below average * You've been warned