Scottish Design Awards 2000 Glasgow: The Lighthouse until Sun 30 Apr *‘iri
Judging by this exhibition of work by nominees for this year’s Scottish Design Awards, the industry is justified in giving itself a pat on the back. Indeed, the endorsement of the international panel of judges - who, from the outset, have said that Scotland's designers are producing work on a par with the best of international design — is a recommendation that should be taken to heart.
This high standard can be seen across the board, from the minutiae of stationery design to grand public projects like The Lighthouse housing this exhibition. It is difficult, therefore, to pick out highlights from the 35 categories. That said, some designs do leap out from the wealth of talent on offer. James Goodchild’s Rectangular Clockface for example, is notable because of his decision to ditch the standard clock hands in favour of a display based on interlocking straight lines. Also eye-catching is Pentagram Design's work for publishers Canongate.
The fact that it is difficult to negotiate the mass of information found in the show would not, perhaps, be a problem if the awards were presented solely for the
Up front: Pentagram's designs for Can
ongate publishers shows good style
benefit of the design community. Yet the organisers are keen to promote the involvement of the general public, who can vote for the first time for both the Scottish Designer Of The Year Award and a special Public Choice Award. This is laudable, but someone with a general interest in design is likely to find it a daunting prospect to cast a vote. Admittedly, with the award categories taking in such a broad spectrum of work, space is limited, but there are precious few examples of the nominees work on view.
Attempts are also made to illustrate the challenges facing each designer but it seems likely that the public will be influenced by the fact that they can get more of a feel for an IBM Network Station computer than for Tank Design’s work on The Drum magazine, displayed simply by the reproduction of one of its front covers.
The exhibition is a joy in showing good design work and admirable in that it looks at the design of websites through to scarves. Yet the attempt to increase public awareness of design and invite public opinion without providing enough designs to view is an indication that the organisers might not be taking public design too seriously. (Jack Mottram)
No ordinary ex
hibition in no ordinary space: Andrew Docherty puts up his brolly
you catch strips of sellotape stuck across a window frame, mad doodles played out in coloured masking tape on the ceiling and the words Bohemia, Tashkent and Mongolia stuck to the walls. In one room, Lyn Lowenstein has painted black squares onto the wall. They resemble blackboards on which she has chalked a drawing of the world and the words 'The earth is —’ On another blackboard are the words '— and — are made for each other’ beneath a drawing of female and male genitalia.
On a further wall, Franziska Furter has drawn in graphite a crystal chandelier, while Anna Ling has obviously enjoyed
Edinburgh: 14 George IV Bridge until Sun 14 May inn:
Dubbed an ’apartment event', this is no formal exhibition in no ordinary gallery space. Walk up three flights of steps but be sure to catch the good views on to Edinburgh Castle through the stair windows as you go. Reach the top floor, knock on the door and enter. Here, housed in an uninhabited, down- at-heel flat with wall-to-wall carpeting the colour of grubby oatmeal, is the
78 THE LIST 27 Apr-ll May 2000
short-term HQ of proto-Academy.
Founded two years ago by Charles Esche, research fellow in art and design at Edinburgh College of Art, proto- Academy is a loose association of artists intent on experimentation, asking questions and making art. Here they have transformed a domestic space in to a workshop for ideas. Artists come and go. They sit in the kitchen, make cups of tea and talk about life and work and perhaps make an informal artwork.
Pick your way through the space and
some late night antics. A series of photographs charts her climbing, under the cover of darkness, into Queen Street Gardens, a private Edinburgh garden only open to local key-holding residents. Ling and her accomplices then proceeded to place in strategic places — on benches, in flowerbeds — tiny plastic animals, no doubt perplexing the next morning‘s dog walkers. proto-Academy is clearly not intent on respecting boundaries and that’s no bad thing.
Glasgow: Transmission Gallery until Mon 15 May it
Work by the New Yorker, Ellen Cantor, is something of a one-trick pony. Her video piece, photographs and drawings all deal in a heavy-handed juxtaposition of the cutesy and the disturbing. Snow White - $&M combines tracings of doe-eyed, sickly innocent Disney animals with images of women bound and gagged gleaned from low-budget fetish mags. And if you haven't already grasped her point, the work is subtitled with such phrases as 'Can there really be love between two people?’
The Sound of Music and The Texas Chainstore Massacre take this wallowing in self-appointed victimhood one step further. Here Cantor has cut between superficially similar scenes from the two films. A strained family meal chez von Trapp merges with Leatherface baiting a victim over a supper of phallic charcuterie, for example. These scenes are overlaid with a soundtrack summarising a past relationship endured by the artist.
Cantor's autobiographical take of the dynamics of relationships
seems to reach a grimly pre-feminist conclusion. The works serve to reinforce, rather than challenge, a reactionary view of the interaction between the sexes. And in turn, Cantor grants authority to the idea that women are inevitably destined to accept the role of victim in a sexual relationship. (Jack Mottram)
Edinburgh: lnstitut Frangais D'Ecosse until Sun 7 May *rkt
The lovely upstairs room at the French Institute could easily be a dance studio with its bare white walls and wooden floor. Anna Ray's prints on the theme of dancing lessons are well-suited to the space with their kitsch sugar almond colours. But for Ray, the kind of little girls who are made of sugar and spice are also hard as nails. Beneath the sequins, she implies, lie competitiveness and an elaborate system of rewards.
In the centre of the room is a lovingly upholstered chaise longue providing a physical and thematic link with the work of Karen Loughridge. Scattered around it are old copies of National Geographic, open at adverts for glamorous Caribbean cruises. Ironically these are from 1962, the year of the Cuban missile crisis, when the ships in that part of the world carried missiles rather than holidaying passengers. Loughridge's theme is the gap between reality and glittering illusion, emphasised by a stunning wall painting of a sea map which runs the whole length of the gallery. (Moira Jeffrey)
‘Polka (Chaise Longue)’ by Anna Ray