Pyramids Of Mars Edinburgh: Fruitmarket Gallery until Sat 29 Jul as t: a r
Named after the furore that met the first images from the surface of Mars, apparently showmg signs of ciVilisation, this exhibition aims to collate artworks that present new Views of society Just as, for a brief time in 1975, NASA sparked a debate on the implications of an alien ciVilisation on our doorstep.
In fact, many of the works in this show curated by Glasgow's The Modern Institute With Lars Bang Larsen and the Danish Contemporary Art Foundation, go further than this. They tackle sooety head on and blur the line between gallery-b0und art and 8008' protects.
Jens Hanning, for example, uses his positron as an artist to subvert economic and cultural conventions. The first of two works on show here is the poster for his Super Discount protect, where various household goods were imported from France to a SWiss gallery, then, thanks to a tax loophole, sold to the public at discount rates. With this subversion of the gallery space, Hanning is followmg in the footsteps of Palle Nielsen, here showmg slides from his Model For A Qualitative Society, which turned a Stockholm gallery into a giant
Colour Me Blind
Dundee: Dundee Contemporary Arts until Sat 22 Jul
Takashi Murakami's Blue Back lies on a bed of colour
Colour certainly shouts out from the walls of DCA. Large canvases hang cheek by iowl and perhaps those With a delicate disposition towards primary colours might be adVised to take the exhibition slowly. Fourteen international artists give us colour loud and clear.
Yet the show’s subtitle Painting In The Age Of Computer Games And Comics seems more a marketing tactic. The artists appear more caught on colour, abstraction and the Joys of the
78 THE lIST 22 Jun—6 Jul 2000
Dreaming of more than a pipe dream: Jeremy Deller's Still from Jerusalem
adventure playground for children.
Alongside these direct interventions, there are a number of more suggestive works. Aleksandra lvlir creates a chain of celebrity encounters, running from Princess Diana to the Queen Via Colonel Saunders, With core links prOVided by hasty snaps featuring the artist’s (non-celebrity) family and friends.
Even Jeremy Deller, who usually skulks around counter-culture like kids director Larry Clark at a teen party, is here With two years' worth of uncut Video diaries contrasting inclusive and excluswe events, With Pride marches set against fox hunts.
As a final example, Danish collective Superflex prOVides one of the clearest realisations of the aims of Pyramids Of Mars. With Superchannel, a live internet TV station that Will broadcast events from the gallery and prowde chat rooms for worldWide discussion of the works on show, they have interactively linked the exhibition to a Wider public.
Pyramids 0/ Mars is, then, an unqualified success, and the various challenges to standard modes of sOCiety have you suspecting, for a fleeting moment at least, that change for the good is more than a pipe dream. (Jack Ivtottram)
decorative than gleaning influences from the digital age and the comic strip. But this is no bad thing. Judging from this show, painting is certainly alive and kicking Most of the work teeters gloriously on the brink of abstraction. Swathes of colour, blobs of colour, splashes of colour.
In Takashi Marakami’s Cream and Milk, two canvases are coated in deep pink and minty green. On this bed of colour lies sensual curling trails of creamy colour. Ingrid Calame's work is equally sumptuous. Described as ‘liqUid events', colour is spread in near puddle-like formation. Colour is limited to black and white in the paintings of Paul MOFFISOH. Yet there is nothing Visually sedate about them. Foliage and thistles are marched out in black on a backdrop of pure White
In comparison, Fiona Rae's works seem charged With adrenaline. Her paint brush has cavorted across the canvas. This result is almost darkly- hooded Visual mayhem but With Rae, order never gets completely out of order. (Susanna Beaumont)
' The Body is Still A Good Read
Glasgow: Pentagon Business Centre until Fri 30 Jun a ..~
The theme of the Pentagon’s latest exhibition is, broadly speaking, attitudes to the body, ranging from portraits to abstract Oils. The work on display is patchy. Rosemary Beaton, for example, references the work of LUCian Freud. Her splodgy male and female nudes have you suspecting their ungainly, skewed proportions are more down to lack of skill than any conscious aim. That said, at least her efforts rise above the purely decorative. A fair portion of the works here are merely expensive alternatives to wallpaper, and would be better swted to reproduction on expensive birthday cards.
Thank goodness, then, for Diana Leslie. Her watercolour Small achieves in three inspired strokes of a brush a Curiously affecting study of a reclining figure, and that's Just for starters. The series of Oil portraits of friends, co-workers and the like (complete With a DaVid Shrigley-esque gUide to the faces featured) are charming tributes to her mates that almost tip over the line into cheeky caricature. Clearly haVing a whale of a time flitting between techniques and styles, Leslie also presents a couple of finicky little etchings and mezzotints. This exhibition is a group show that ought really to concentrate on one artist and drop the fillers. (Jack Mottram)
The Art Of Documentary
Edinburgh: National Portrait Gallery until Sun 3 Sep
Scotland has been active in photography since its earliest development and this is a welcome outing for some important work, including a number of contemporary loans. The theme of this show is of ordinary people gomg about their work and everyday life. There's Oscar lvlarzaroli’s famous Golden-haired Lass and Jospeh Ivchenzie's less- lauded but equally brilliant Beat/e Girl. For all the sentiment that now surrounds them, these photographs show children as indiViduals, not mere reflections of adult interests.
The classic images of Scottish photography are all here. From the Newhaven fisherman, Sandy Linton, His Boat And Bairns, taken by photographic pioneers Hill and Adamson around I845, Via Bert Hardy’s Boys Going Messages from the 20th century era of the Picture Post to DaVid William’s portraits of post office workers in the l980s.
But whether the term ’dOCUmentary’ is the best way to describe these photographs is questionable. Hill and Adamson's photographs of the Newhaven fishing community were an attempt to get away from dreary and disease-torn Edinburgh and to portray a more ideal way of life. Their successors have had many motives including Journalism and commerCial sponsorshipThese are all important images, but not as neutral as they like to pretend. (Mona Jeffrey)
Spiritual high, Patricia Malley's Tremendous Reality
Home (is where the heart is . . .) Glasgow: Fringe Gallery until Fri 30 Jun
An elderly man, barechested and painfully thin, looks at the camera. He is so emaciated that his heart pacemaker is clearly/ Visible on his chest. It looks as if it might burst through his paper-thin skin. The expression on his face, reveals not Only his pain, but recognition. He's not Just looking at the camera, but at the person behind the lens, his own daughter, the Glasgow photographer Kathleen Little.
Like Richard Billingham's photographs of his chaotic family, which coincidentally are on show at the lkon Gallery in Birmingham, Little’s photographs are painfully intimate. They record the decline and death of her parents and the subsequent disintegration of their Glasgow home. In the wake of these changes, Little moves into her own home which she strips back and redecorates in a cathartic process of renewal.
If this s0unds grim, it is, but it is also compassionate, movmg and essentially hopeful Little’s work uses astonishingly Vibrant colours and what looks on the surface like dOCLimentary reportage also touches on classic religious imagery. Light streams thr0ugh Windows as in a Renaissance painting and an ironing board is an altar. Domestic detail takes on iconic Significance. It was a difficult deCision for Little to show these photgraphs, but a brave and highly Justified one. (Mona Jeffrey)