Boys at play: Julian Woodward's 30 computer image
Furoshikibility Glasgow: Fly Gallery until Sun 10 Oct ****
Well, first the name Furoshikibility. It’s a challenge to pronounce and a fusion of East and West; a word that seems to join a specific Japanese term with the utilitarian. So, what on earth does it mean? The word is derived from a traditional multi-propose material called Furoshiki which is used to make fold- away carriers.
As to Furoshikibility, the word is used to describe the work of Japanese designer, Jenji Ekuan who designed the classic Kikkoman soy sauce bottle. The idea is that objects can be versatile and adaptable and that their meanings and uses can change. For the seven artists involved here, this means that their work might not fit into accepted categories of fine art, design, sculpture or conceptual art. In many other cultures such distinctions are meaningless.
Take Martin Boyce’s SKTBL 2, made in
collaboration with Richard Wright. Is it a skateboard, a low-slung coffee table, a painting, or with elaborate text on its surface, a signpost? While Andrew Miller’s breakfast bar might be a late modernist sculpture or an off-cut from a Formica-clad fashionable pub. Apply black marker pen to Paul Maguire’s LCD T-shirts and you could make them say whatever you want.
Dene Happell (with both design and fine art training) and Jonathan Kemp (a philosophy graduate) exemplify the way that, when you take away the traditional rules, meanings can become much more fluid. Happell’s work forms part of the Glasgow Collection, a design project under the umbrella of Glasgow 1999. Here, his low table seems more akin to installation art. Kemp has projected a digital timepiece onto a wall tile. It is both a functioning clock and a wistful reminder of our own mortality. Furoshikibility is definitely a handy idea to hold on to in these diverse times. (Moira Jeffrey)
Glasgow: Glasgow Project Space until Sat 30 Oct ****
Sitting Pretty: Beagles and Ramsay return as rag dolls
Forget Edinburgh’s Dean Gallery, don't worry about Dundee Contemporary Arts. There's a new art museum in Glasgow and we don’t still mean the Gallery Of Modern Art. Welcome instead to Museum Magogo, constructed from cardboard and glue by Beagles and Ramsay, the city's current answer to museum-maker Peggy Guggenheim.
But while the pair have patiently
crafted a working architectural model‘
using scrumpled up paper and cereal
packets, they're not (only) joking. The Glasgow Project Space has become the crazed art museum of the month. It has all the facilities you would expect from such an august institution with its various rooms named after illustrious benefactors: there’s the Jameson Memorial Room, The Chicken Wing and, best of all, the Rope-a-Dope Sculpture Garden, beautifully
.landscaped with a piece of astroturf.
Filling the gallery walls, floor and even the ceiling are contributions from literally hundreds of artists. The result is a bit like a drunken party. Crossing the room you engage in conversation with one work, turn your back on another, narrowly miss stepping on something and laugh loudly at a joke, while someone is weeping in the corner having just been chucked.
As well as practically every young Scottish artist you’ve ever come across (and many you haven't) Beagles and Ramsay have contributions from impressively wide sources. Unfortunately, the expected Andy Warhol couldn't make it due to insurance problems, but there's input from Terry Atkinson, posters from Bob and Roberta Smith, a questionnaire to fill in from the London Collective Bank and work by New York's Guerrilla Girls.
But museum as muse? This is museum as monster. But it is also museum as mate - a mad, inspired, generous, exhausting, down-the-pub kind with underlying serious intent. (Moira Jeffrey)
Design Machine Glasgow: Art Gallery & Museum Kelvingrove until Sat 9 Jan *‘k*
A mantelpiece made of plastic privet hedge. A sofa that doubles up as a toilet. Tree trunks in the corner of the sitting room. Design Machine shakes up convention and opens the door into the mind of the designer. And, as it is primarily aimed at children, the show is robustly prod-proof and frequently interactive. It offers a beginner's guide to the world of design.
There is a ’Hug-Me Chair’ by Ilka Schaumberg which may be just the thing for lonesome grown-ups. When you sit in it, the ’arms' snugly embrace you. Elsewhere KRD Designs show a height-altering space. A stainless steel plated room has a ceiling which rises and falls; ideal for both accommodating taller guests and saving on the heating bills.
The question asked is: 'Can design bring people together?’ Who knows? But by the look of the polyamide double sleeping bag in the ‘Survival Kit' section, the answer is a cosy 'yes'. (Susanna Beaumont)
Julia McNairn Edinburgh: Bellevue Gallery until Sat 16 Oct Hot
Julia McNairn's Two Chimneys
Blue and yellow predominate in the best of Julia McNairn‘s big-scale urban oil paintings, though the effect is far brighter than the finely polished bruise— effect that such colours suggest. Set side by side, it's like a ZOOOAD comic beamed over to Mexico, with sunlight bathing the golden glow of deep sea blue.
it’s this airy sense of purity that pays off, as McNairn explores just a few of the eight million stories that are forever in motion in the throbbing heart of the city. Ice-cool and deadpan, these works eke out an arid, aromatic sense of beauty that forsakes bombast for an altogether drier, more clinical, though not unemotive approach. Plug in a Philip Glass soundtrack, and you’re almost there. But not quite. (Neil Cooper)
Jim Harold: Twilight
Edinburgh: Talbot Rice until Sat 30 Oct *~k**
Jim Harold's photographs and installation take us behind the scenes at the museum and into the dusty store rooms where the University Of Edinburgh keeps its classical plaster casts. The busts, friezes and fragments seem to be carrying on among themselves: deep in thought or private conversation.
Once the staple of art and classical education, these plaster casts served as the photographs of their time, monochrome reproductions of once colourful stone-carved originals. Harold seems to be asking what is their role now, as their stories seem less familiar and now, as objects, they’ve taken on an independent life.
This is a quiet, cerebral exhibition linked to a fairly sophisticated academic debate. It sits well in the architecture of the gallery, surrounded by the scholarly weight of the University's Quad. On a very immediate level, the images of cracked lips and open-mouthed plaster heads have a subtle, seductive quality. Much like those amazing scenes in Greenaway’s film The Belly Of An Architect where Brian Dennehy’s huge bulk was framed against giant fragments of classical statuary, Jim Harold's Twilight Enclosures make you look again at the images of the past. (Moira Jeffrey)
The Head of Hermes
7—21 Oct 1999 “ISM”