Families and festive cheer don’t always get on, but at Edinburgh’s lnverleith House an exhibition called FAMILY makes for an unusual household gathering. Words: Susanna Beaumont
Peter Fleissig is in New York talking families. but not particularly how to survive them. Fleissig is British. based in London. but leads a fairly nomadic life — as does his art collection. Last year it was on show in a monastery in Kiev; next year it‘s a space in Alabama; iii-between it‘s Edinburgh‘s lnverleith House.
Family is a group show: a 'family' of artworks owned by Fleissig. Often the family is disparate — individual works loaned out — but at Edinburgh‘s lnverleith House they are brought together into a domestic setting. Fleissig sees it as a bit of a ‘homecoming'.
lip until the late 50s. lnverleith House was a private house occupied by the Regius Keepers of the Royal Botanic Garden. but since the ()(is it has been a gallery. For I’umi/y. the domestic setting of yesteryear is revisited. Each galley will echo the one- time domestic space: ‘drawing room’. ‘bedroom‘. ‘dining room‘ and so on. In the ‘drawing room‘ is Douglas Gordon‘s IliS‘il'llCiiO/l N0 7 along with work by Rachel Whiteread and Damien Hirst. Upstairs. alone and weeping. is Georgina Starr’s video Crying. The fact that the show runs over the festive season. a
88 THE “ST 3—l7 Dec 1998
'lt's the concept of the in- between. I acquire works early in the career of artists, and often they are works that the artists are not sure about.’
A Crying Shame: Georgina Starr's Crying, 1993
time that families get together and frequently
fracture. is not lost on l‘leissig — ‘liamilies together
can end in tears.‘ Fleissig buys art. which is something we British
are not suppose to be much good at. (‘all it our
puritanical background or the stranglehold of '
Shakespeare‘s ‘literary legacy'. the Brits are not buyers when it comes to art. Fleissig is. and his extended family‘ count among its members youngsters Sam Taylor—\Vood. Marc Quinn. (.‘allum lnnes and. more of a father-figure. Richard Hamilton.
‘lt‘s the concept of the in-between.‘ explains lileissig on the relations between the various and
diverse works. ‘I acquire works early in the career of
artists. and often they are works that the artists are not sure about.’ When asked if art is a commodity to be purchased in the belief that to speculate is to accumulate. Fleissig feels this is not the case with him. ‘lt's not like I see the front cover of lv'n'irt' and feel I must buy the \k'tll'lx'..ll..\‘ more that I see a show at the l(‘/\ and find myself taken by the work of an artist l hadn't expected.‘
l’leissig feels that many artists in Family are caught up with domestic life. Richard Billingham is a case point. l‘lis photographs of
family life are raw exposes of
sitting-room reality. Elsewhere. fantasy can still elbow its way into the most dysfunctional of family units. Douglas Gordon‘s text work simply states 'l believe in miracles’. But then nudging us towards a mediation of mortality is Damien l‘lirst's The P/rrsicu/ lnzposxsib'i/ity ()f Deal/1 In The Mind (If Someone Who Is Living.
Family is at lnverleith House, Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh, Sun 13 Dec—Sun 31 Jan.
Taking the artworld’s pulse.
FOUNDED IN 1996 ’in parallel to a narcissistic trend in the British artistic scene, Salon 3 aims to enable London to maintain a discourse with artists based outside the capital’. And in the name of improving the communication link- up with life beyond M25, Salon 3 has opened a new office in London’s Elephant and Castle. Because we know it is good to talk, our very own Glasgow~based Will Bradley, artist and co-founder of The Modern institute, is involved with Salon 3 and, if funding permits, talk will become reality with a programme of collaborative projects.
A CALL FOR old, disused photography paraphernalia comes from Tomoko Takahashi. The artist will be creating a new work for Edinburgh’s Stills Gallery in January and requires material to make what is best described as ’ordered chaos’. Call 0131 622 6200.
MEANWHILE IN GLASGOW, a Show at Fly Gallery tackles a day in the life of ‘stuff'. Artists Mary Redmond and Hayley Tompkins have been accumulating a range of bits and bobs from chopsticks to a glass of milk and Bob Dylan records for The Social Life Of Stuff. Also at the show, Janice McNab documents the life of the individuals who have exiled themselves to New Mexico due to allergies to 20th century household products. Word is that the exhibition, which is also to include work by Sarah Tripp and Caroline Kirsop, will highlight the work of some of Glasgow's most interesting artists.
TIRED OF MYTH? In need of another theory? Waldemar Januszczak, art critic of The Sunday Times, is positing another take on the ’civilisation myth'. ’I do it because the myth that only values western art made in the past 2000 years is a lousy one to be taking into the 21st century,’ says Januszczak. Help prepare for the next century by watching Januszczak in The Truth About Art on Channel 4 on Sun 6 Dec. See TV preview, p118.
Salon 3 have made a new home at Elephant and Castle