Thomas Joshua Cooper
Edinburgh: Fruitmarket Gallery until 10 Jan a a a: it
rivers, feeling washed over by the watery depths (Susanna Beaumont) I Thomas Joshua Cooper is part of Ambient Light, an Edinburgh four- venue exhibition of photography.
Tower Of Babble
Glasgow: Street Level until 17 Jan. * at at
Thomas Joshua Cooper photographs oceans, seas and rivers An American who has lived in Scotland since i982, Coeper teaches at Glasgow School Of Art, and is an artist of international standing Yet, what you sense, wandering around this solo show at the Eiurtrnarket, is Cooper's heroic- styled Romanticism The oceans and seas are, for Cooper, the final frontier -- the last great untameable wilderness where the forces of nature VII” forever rule the waves.
There is not a hint of other life, not even a lone, hovering seagull, in the work Even the shot taken at the mouth of the Water of Leith is naVigated to exciude any trace of humans Nor here are si:ii»kissed, glistening stretches of turquoise water. All in black and white, many of the photographs hold a menace silent stretches of flat, dark ‘-.‘./<ile.', they have a plate-glass soleiiinity, probably heightened by the show's harsh lighting Photographer! Without horizons or acknowledgenieiit of the sky, the images are abstracted details of intense, unfathomably deep waters. Some suggest a mythological waterscape these water» could be home to Charon feriyinci passengers across the river $ny
The works' titles also speak of Cooper's awe of the water world One series is entitled The Swelling Of The Sea, another The World's Edge - Remembering Mage/lari, a tribute to the lbth cehtury Portuguese explorer who sailed to the Americas Another is called At The End Of The Wor/d Cooper has described his photographs as 'ineditations they are more the products of a revelation than of actual direct documentation of place'
You leave this exhibition haVing gazed at an ocean, numerous seas and
Tower Of Babb/e is a curiously top heavy construct A Wide-ranging and refreshingly eclectic collection of art Journals, magazmes and audio-visuals are arrayed in a space designed to ’explain', 'contextualise’ and 'interpret'. It is peculiar that the one area of the art world dedicated to the dissemination of ideas should need so much interpretation. One is left With the feeling that the gallery itself is not wholly convmced. This is a shame, and presumably not intended.
The breadth of the magazmes on show is impressive and the exhibition manages to amid the obVious pit-fall of appearing too obsessive. This show could easily have descended into 'art anorak' territory That it doesn't owes much to the energy of many of the editions. It is a vibrancy born of a commerCial fatalism 'always say die' is a worthy motto for any art publication.
What purpose original artworks of magaZine covers serve is not clear. They add little to the show. Space devoted to the usual suspects (DaVid Shrigley, Ross Sinclair, Pavel Biichler et all is guaranteed to raise the odd yawn That artists have read, and even been ; inspired by Journals devoted to their
profeSSion (indeed many contribute or make regular appearances in them), is hardly insightful
Few of the magaZines have the pretensions of so-called artists’ books In a curiOus way, they seem to have a greater longeVity because of this. At the very least they are dOCUments: the best are fine artworks in their own right. (Gavrn Jones)
Detail from Old Glasgow Underground - Down Among The Dead Men 197213
72 THE UST 5—18 Dec 1997
5 '2' .w‘,' _ 3‘ Hiroshi Sugimoto
Edinburgh: Stills until 24 Jan st a war
Hiroshi Sugimoto’s photographs slip between fact and fiction - to the point of leaving you disorientated. So convincingly and coolly do they play on reality, you are left wondering if fiction is masquerading as reality - or vice versa for that matter.
Not that you can't tell almost immediately that Wax Museums are anything but a series of photographs of wax works. Whether it's Elizabeth Taylor with her starched high-rise hairdo, lanky Graham Young - aka the St Alban's Poisoner — with his Brylcreem-Iicked hair or Napoleon lying dead with an austere Duke of Wellington looking on, all have an unmistakable waxiness. A literal deadpan-ness, which leaves no room for doubt.
Yet Sugimoto seems to be making a play to inhabit the twilight zone. Born in Tokyo in 1948 and based in New York for the past 23 years, his other photograph series - Seascapes. Theatres or Dioramas (also on show at Stills) - all flirt with the real and the unreal, life and death.
All his wax works inhabit scenes. Elizabeth Taylor is in a trompe I’oeil stage set. Jean Harlow is in a 'no frills spared' bed and Graham Young stands outside the door of his prison cell. All part of the seduction you feel. The fact that all the photographs are in black and white. still considered a greater friend to 'truthful documentation’ than colour. further disorientates. In photographing lookalike wax models. Sugimoto has deep-frozen something 'dead' that was once real. The camera is playing the game of make-believe, while pointing out en route that its view is frequently deceptive.
Sugimoto’s Diorama shows stuffed animals, the sort that can be found in numerous museums. As with Wax Museum these creatures inhabit their 'natural landscape'. But, unlike the wax works, they can easily be believed to be 'for real'. Neanderthal. a group portrait of early man, is of course a real photo of a family long since dead and gone. (Susanna Beaumont)
I Hiroshi Sugimoto is part of Ambient Light, an Edinburgh four-venue exhibition of photography.
Glasgow and Ireland for more than 30 years, so he knows a thing or two i about urban decay
Images, make this blatant Both feature ; works dating from the 60s and early
Glasgow: Gallery Of Modern Art until
and white, though such evocative polemics give way to a third section of more recent works Here, McKenZie shows personal meditations on his own mortality, With family portraits nestling next to still him of near religious significance
This is an exhibition that fascinates, shocks and delights on sociological significance alone Charting, as it does, a largely demolished single-end eXistence dating from the days before housing estates were far-flung thoughts after a motorway development, and when The Troubles were still in their infancy John Cooper Clarke‘s seminal paean to the backstreets Beasley Street springs to mind
These never sentimental images seem straight out of the Sunday supplements of old, before quality was usurped by 'Iifestyle’ (Neil Cooper)
Photographer Joseph McKenZie has been hanging out on the streets of
The initial two sections of his first exhibition for more than a decade, Hibernian Irriages‘ and G/asgow
Hibernian Images shows street life on both sides of the Irish border, where urchins play on bomb sites, watched by laughing men in flak-Jackets and a laundry van bears the legend 'Swastika'
Glasgow Images could decorate an illustrated edition of Jeff Torrington‘s novel Swrng/ Hammer’ Swmg’, With
its grinning portraits of roughnecks in a STAR RAUNGS Glasgow still to receive its day-glo 80s :1” Sgggzaoﬂe makeover, when designer bars and ,t * ,. worth a Shot insipid white funk wrll rule the land at * Below average McKenzie’s eye-View is strictly black * You've been Warned