Blow Your Mind Edinburgh: Collective Gallery Fri 9 Jan—Sat 7 Feb.
In Scotland’s growing community of collaborating couples, the work of Joanne Tatham and Tom O’Sullivan occupies a unique space. For a start, how often do people describe visual art as pure theatre? In the case of Tatham and O’Sullivan, who have created a noisy new show at Edinburgh's Collective Gallery, the answer is rather a lot.
Over the past three years, their work has become increasingly dramatic. Their shows - in London, Brussels and Sydney — are united by a formula of suggestive title, evocative soundtrack plus lo-fi sets and props. In the words of Tatham, the installations appear to be ’hi- tech fantasies gone sadly wrong.’ Or even better, ’a bad musical about to happen.’
’We are interested in the idea that everything is representation,’ explains O’Sullivan. ’The way people live does not come from in here,’ he says, pointing to his chest, ‘it's a cultural representative.’
Investigating the role spectacle plays in creating belief, the duo construct emotive environments and atmospheres. Previous work has played with fairy-tale imagery, including a large papier maché dwarf. More recently, the impressive futuristic installation,
Accumulator used an object reminiscent of Stanley
Kubrick’s ominous monolith in 2001. Another installation, Magus, featured an eight-foot, skull-topped druidic totem.
In each case, Tatham and O’Sullivan’s sculpture is bathed in coloured light and serenaded by raucous loops of music and sound. It’s powerful, theatrical stuff, but close-up, you can smell the timber, glue and Sellotape. ’We get involved in the spaces quite seriously,’ says O’Sullivan. 'In these complete scenarios, we play with irony, space and role-playing.’
Their latest adventure Blow Your Mind promises to take the audience once step further than stage or screen. In the Collective’s limited space, the tableau arrangement of previous work is dropped in favour of a quasi-religious environment.
The walls are lined with plastic sheeting. An altar-like table sits below a screen, pulsing with projected images. Samples of music by bands such as The Orb and Hawkwind boom through the space while visitors consider some potentially disturbing iconography: mythological Egyptian creatures; stills of 705 performance art; Hawkwind playing live.
Divine Facades Edinburgh: Portfolio Gallery Sat IO
Jan—Sat 14 Feb.
Magnus by Joanne Tatham and Tom O’ Sullivan
’The music works as a starting point for making connections,’ Tatham explains. ’These connections represent a belief-system generated by two people. In Blow Your Mind, we are trying to create our own cult.’
From play and film into real life, should their latest work really be taken seriously? With Tatham and O’Sullivan, the dividing line between reality and fantasy is blurred. (Paul Welsh)
among those who Ii'tletli‘il Grecian- styled goyerrioi's’ i‘e'~i(ler‘i(es, rlorneci mosques and tiir'ieterl
Canopy to a King: a photograph by Ram Raham of Lutyen's edifice
Colonial rule over India may have ended Over 50 years ago but one ViSIble legacy lives on' the artliiterture of the Raj, bricks and mortar are remnants of an imperial age
To mark the 50th anniversary of independence, three contemporary artists — Abul Kalam Azad, Dinein Khanna and Ram Rahman »- were inVited to create a present-day response to this past Commissioned by the London's Organisation For VISUal Arts (OVA) and New Delhi”; Fotomedia, the reSult is Divme Facades
The three artists were sent copies of old photographs as a starting point to the commisSion. These sepia prints of Indian architecture and Iife from the collection of Montreal's Canadian Centre For Architecture, were taken by European residents and Visitors to India over the last century Felice Beato, Samuel Bourne and John Murray were
through a liea' and riust (ta/ii
Now, a tenttiry rater, Rani Ralinian's '
pl‘ioti‘irjraplis raptu'e tire irianrjr- He has rerorrieil the vast (l<’)IIIt7tl ;.ii‘i.,-_o‘y designed by Edvx n Lutyeris, the British architect of New Delhi once housed a statue oi George ‘1', but now stands empty
'The statue itself lies decrepit at Coronation Park in North Dellu,’
explains Raham, accompanied by
other battered figures from the Raj ’ Abul Kalam Azarl photographs people against a backdrop of architecture They are for Azad, a re- reading of history through. architecture
and an act of literally putting people
back in the picture
'History,‘ says Azad 'is provrded by beautiful pictures of the archaeological department and by tOLirist, colonial, photographs ' (Susanna Beaumont)
We look between the spaces of Glasgow and Edinburgh’s art scene.
WITH THE JANUARY Lottery awards pending, spare a little sympathy for the prospective winners, not just losers. The Scottish Arts Council- administered scheme requires matching funding before awards can be released. But with European cash being guzzled by major developments like Glasgow’s new science park, sources of additional finance are becoming increasingly scarce. After submitting multi- million pound applications, organisations including the city’s CCA are concerned they could still struggle to initiate new developments, even with 100% support from SAC.
JANUARY SHOULD BE more enjoyable for Toby Webster and Will Bradley at Glasgow's Modern Institute. Backed by the SAC, the lnstitute’s first ’editions' are taking shape, with Christine Borland’s CD — a reading inspired by Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein — due for release at the end of the month. A book collaboration with Simon Starling will appear later in the spring.
HEAD OF PROGRAMMING for the CCA, Frank McKee, is said to have woken up on 1 January with a vision of the new year. He wants to move the CCA towards experimental music combined with live art and away from large, static exhibitions. The Irish dynamo is obviously in tune with the zeitgeist. By coincidence, Transmission and Street Level are developing programmes along similar lines, the latter a retrospective on ten years of Glasgow street art, curated by Ross Birrell, the only person to have skied Buchanan Street in recent memory.
AND NOW SOME New Year resolutions. ’Get our book published’ — Sarah Tripp on a glossy history of Transmission’s first thirteen years which has been on the cards for a while. ’Give up smoking and write a novel’ - Tatham and O'Sullivan opt for two contradictory impulses. ’Get out and party more’ — Clive Albert, director of Edinburgh’s Matthew Architecture Gallery, bemoaning a year of quality life-consuming curation. Good luck . . . (Paul Welsh)
9—22 Jan I998 THE “3179