Glasgow: Botanic Gardens, CCA, Glasgow School Of Art & Intermedia Gallery, until Sat 21 Nov a a a,
Often in the orgy of publicity that has surrounded the rise of a generation of Scottish artists, it has been easy to forget that, while we’ve been congratulating ourselves on the quality of home-grown talent, the rest of the world has carried on making art. Going some way towards redressing this imbalance, several venues in Glasgow are currently holding a festival of
j contemporary art from the capital of Europe, Brussels.
Jointly organised and curated by Anne Buckingham and Glasgow-based artist Nathalie de Briey, the show is the second leg of a three-part exchange. The first exhibition featured the work of Glasgow artists Ross Sinclair, Tom O'Sullivan, Joanna Tatham and Paul Carter in 1997, and a further show is planned for 2000 in Brussels.
The various shows featuring the work of sixteen Brussels-based artists are at their most interesting in giving a snapshot of how young Europeans have recast or ignored the legacy of what was, and continues to be, the most influential artistic movement of the last 30 years: conceptualism. Much Scottish and British art moved away from some of the more excessive, alienating dryness of ’classic conceptualism,’ preferring instead to mix theoretical concerns with a more
engaged, socially rooted practice. Conversely, the
overwhelming impression of Brussels art is that it has continued respecting the aesthetic protocols and cerebral coolness of conceptualism.
The CCA show predominately reflects this different attitude. Although much of the work could be characterised as being more poetically ‘cool' — Luc Grossen, Christoph Fink, Koen Theys and Michel Couturier all make subtle, restrained, occasionally playful work about time and space — the dominant impression remains one of dryness and detachment. Meanwhile, Dominque Thirion's I’m Looking For Someone To Tell Me A Story is, with its jaunty popularist invitation for audience participation, overt in its rejection of the detachment and gulf between artists and audience — something which has long plagued the conceptualist legacy.
Familiarity can develop a certain blindness to the nature and look of our own immediate culture. Amid the backslapping about Scottish/British art, the uniqueness or freshness is often uncritically assumed. The merit of a show like this, is that it forces a certain amount of renegotiation of just how different and special ’our' art is in relation to the rest of Europe. Much work on show is actually little different from home- grown produce, but somehow, and perhaps dangerously, hype and nationalism can initially obscure this. (John Beagles)
A work by Djos Janssens
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American artists has been brought to the somewhat august rooms of the Royal Scottish Academy - a similarly aged aunt among Edinburgh’s art venues. While not attempting to offer a complete picture of the American scene, you do manage to get a whiff of what is happening the other side of the Atlantic.
And judging by the line-up, you get the impression that the States is still struggling to get to grips with life after Duchamp and, for that matter, Rothko. There are some intriguing works, but the hanging does not do it any favours. Perhaps the large-scale, high- ceilinged rooms with their intimidating vistas bring on a rush of anxiety, prompting a need to ’over-furnish'.
Dawoud Bey and Deborah Orloff's photographs have guts. Elsewhere
Edinburgh: Royal Scottish Academy, until Sun 15 Nov it “tr
Founded over lOO years ago, the Society of Scottish Artists has gathered an air similar to that of a congenial,
elderly aunt. Reliable, fond of tradition and perhaps a little nervous of the resolutely contemporary, 'she' walks a touch anxiously over late 20th century terrain. At Transatlantic Connections, there is, however, a sense of exploration and a sense of adventure. Work by twelve contemporary
there are moody portraits by Susan Eaton and extraordinary installations — namely a giant plastic sac of milk, With a teat attached, suspended over a small cot. A comment on breast implants and future feeding tactics — maybe? (Susanna Beaumont)
Edinburgh: City Art Centre until Sat 4 Jan * t *
The artistic potential of the medium is hardly foremost in your mind as you stare into the bottom of your pint glass. Certainly one of the most functional — but hardly the trendiest — of all mediums, glass is currently undergoing an image change.
So banish images of Auntie Ethel's prized marble-effect vase from your mind as Glass UK charts the surprisingly hip evolution of the medium from 1967 to the present. Highlighting the luminous, liquid and sculptural qualities of glass and combining old and cutting-edge techniques, many of the artists explore the diversity and potential of that most ancient and traditional form, the vessel.
Oriental influences are evident in the once ground-breaking work of Anthony Stern, which sits comfortably alongside the new breed of innovation. Keith Brocklehurst uses a variety of media in his sculpture Give-Away, while The Gossips by David Prytherch is a delightfully playful piece, reminiscent of countless over-the-back-fence exchanges. William Manson has given paperweights a rebirth and in the scene Struggling Man, David Reekie evokes the myth of the labour of Sisyphus.
From the timelessly beautiful, if a tad staid, Caithness glass and Darlington crystal, via the odd piece more reminiscent of two bob tat, to truly funky and more experimental items, the works on show revel in the magic of glass. Time to reassess your glass ornaments and drinking vessels. (Claire Prentice)
Karl Friedrick Schinkel
Edinburgh: National Gallery until Sun 20 Dec 1th“:
Schinkel was big on dreams and schemes. The 19th century German architect had more than a passing penchant for armies of classical columns, pediments, mythological gods and goddesses, winged lions and caryatids. You name the classical accessory and Schinkel employed it — here was a man who ran hard and fast with the neo-classical revival.
Schinkel however was not that familiar with budgetary control. His deSigns for a palace on the Acropolis (requiring a substantial demolition job of earlier Grecian temples) and a vast holiday home for the Tsarina of Russia on the Crimean coast were never realised. Unabashedly extravagant he may have been - at the proposed Crimean palace Schinkel conceived a vast atrium garden in an attempt to provide a Visual high as stunning as the seaviews - but his clients quietly said 'thank you, but no thank you'.
There is, however, no getting away from the fact that Schinkel was an extraordinary architect with an extravagant vision. Here, in a series of prints, you more than glimpse a sense of architectural adventurism which should never be slapped back. (Susanna Beaumont)
5—19 Nov 1998 THE "ST 89