Various venues in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

It's difficult not to get stuck in a rut when thinking about French art. After ruling the cultural waves for the first part of this century. France has been pretty quiet. Or has it? Vivre Sa Vie. an impressively large- scale survey of contemporary French art, aims to shatter your misconceptions.

Taking place in venues across Scotland, the celebration of all things Gallic brings together more than 21 artists under the banner Vivre Sa Vie which. for those of us who were looking out of the window during French, translates as 'My life to live'. '1’ he exhibition is proof positive that France is experiencing a period of renewed artistic activity,’ says organiser Tanya Leighton. 'With a generation of artists generating the kind of international and national interest not seen since the 1960s.’

Of the more well known artists, Claude Closky may be familiar to some, having exhibited video work at Glasgow's CCA in 1996. Typically for an artist interested in a wide range of media, he is this time fulfilling a commission by New Media Scotland to produce a work for the web. Those of you able to escape the

The best in contemporary French art

pile-ups on the information superhighway can check his work out at:

As far as gallery-based exhibitions go, Pierre Huyghe. one of the stars of the French new wave and a video artist of international repute, is exhibiting new work at Glasgow's Tramway with Philippe Parreno. Elsewhere in Glasgow, Street Level is showing work by the photographer Bruno Serralongue, who is described as working in a ‘political and sociological context', while Transmission is hosting work by several artists who work in interstices of art, fashion and design.

Edinburgh also gets in on the act. The Collective Gallery is home to Glassbox, a group of upcoming young guns on the Parisian art scene. Comprising artists from France, Bulgaria. England and Germany, Glassbox has garnered many of the laurels in the recent renaissance of French art. Accompanying this litany of exhibitions are an exhaustive series of events. projects. talks, lectures. workshops and symposiums. And if all that isn't enough, then they are also screening Jean-Luc-Godard's Le Mepris. The best in contemporary French art and perhaps one of the greatest movies ever made. Somebody's been working hard. (John Beagles)

innovative and diverse

GROUP SHOW New Work Scotland Programme 3

Collective Gallery, Edinburgh, until Sun 12 Nov * * x ‘k

In any series it always seems that by the final episode the script writers have run out of ideas. The tired old story lines get dredged up again, even the actors look bored. Fortunately the final instalment of the Collective Gallery’s series of exhibitions exposing the work of young Scottish artists does not suffer the same fate.

Recent art school graduate Mike Peter has transformed the gallery space

into a building site. His central piece is a sink that doubles as a mould of a dam. Employing rough timber and waste materials, Peter uses variations of scale to investigate the relationship between model and reality, exploring the process by which we interact with and transform our environment.

In an interesting comparison, Katy Dove’s first solo show exhibits a far more random approach to the manipulation of her surroundings. Using ribbon, beads and wool in a manner that 'remained unresolved up until the last minute', she has created an improvised web of coloured strings.

It is the innovative and diverse interpretations of the gallery space that make this exhibition so successful. To this end, special mention must be made of Ailie Rutherford whose installation inhabits the project room. Using video, drawing and clay figures, she has recreated a child’s bedroom, the innocence of which is undermined by sinister suggestions of sex and violence. Given the wealth of Scottish talent in evidence it would seem that, unlike television sitcoms, this is one series that should run and run.

(Donna Conwell)

INSTALLATION Keith Thompson: Vanitas

Edinburgh Printmakers, until Sat 18 Nov i at t 'k

The fusion of art and science often creates macabre images that awaken the morbid fascination in us all, no matter how distasteful, immoral or ghoulish the process.

Vanitas by Keith Thompson creates a formula that repulses but intrigues. It repels even as it engages the imagination.

Encased in illuminated glass boxes are heads, hands and feet. Suspended in lifeless animation, they lend the art space a curious split personality of installation and laboratory. Thompson, however, is not a budding Frankenstein of the art world. No flesh has been used, though the imagination could persuade otherwise.

The suspended appendages are virtual creations cleverly created by screenprinting on glass and pressing the multiple sheets of glass together. Closer inspection reveals that each screenprint contains an image of the body which has been spliced from tip to base, then reassembled to create 30 images.

The impetus for Thompson's work is the Visible Human Project Internet site, which details the slicing and reconstruction of a convict’s body that was donated to science. This offers an incomparable view of the body though it is not for the faint-hearted. You have been warned. (Isabella Weir)

repulses but intrigues


Market, Glasgow, until Thu 9 Nov.

Market gallery in the East End of Glasgow is the last outpost in the city's art scene. In the wild wild frontier that is Dennistoun, Market is trying to coax the sedentary Glasgow art world out of its West End enclave, while simultaneously attempting to pull in some locals. DIY's upcoming season of four shows, each lasting a week, aims to achieve this with a selection of diverse, experimental work.

Kevin Hutchenson starts the season off with a show of collages, which use and abuse appropriated images and texts from crime magazines. After him, Deborah Jackson and Steve Anderson will transform the space into a stage. Their performances of repetitive actions will be viewable via the gallery’s large-scale glass frontage.

Later, Nick Evans and Simon Blackmore are aiming to transport utopian self sufficiency and energy consciousness familiar from Amsterdam to the petrol guzzling locale of Duke Street. Bicycles adapted to become more 'useful' will be available to the public for hire. Lastly, Rebecca Milling will for the duration of one day, entomb herself in a box and document her imprisonment with fifteen cameras protruding in. Undoubtedly the next logical step for CCTV. (John Beagles)

Elsi a selection of experimental work

PHOTOGRAPHY Louise Shambrook 8:

Ian Passmore

Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow, until 28 Jan * ‘k it

Being gay is about more than just social stereotypes as we discover in two Glasgay! exhibitions by artists Louise Shambrook and Ian Passmore

Shambrook’s categorical photographic installations look at our personal identities and how others can misread them. A collection of individual headshots, entitled Swimming Hats, forces you to consider all those idiosyncratic characterisations and how, in a world where women need big Bambi eyes and men need strong jaw lines, there will always be gender crossovers. Shambrook’s second series, Hands, is a photographic study made especially for Glasgay! that examines scientific research linking finger length to sexual orientation. Maybe slightly obvious, but it’s still amusing to watch people checking out their own digits.

Upstairs are Ian Passmore's achingly poignant text and photography works. Like excerpts from a teenage diary, Passmore’s hand-written accounts are miniature narratives sat next to grainy old photographs, mementoes that follow the rite of passage of a young gay man growing up in 19605 Paisley. Five Crossroads To A Gay Space brings together memories of time and place, relating not only to Passmore’s life, which sadly ended at the beginning of the year, but also to the lives of so many others. (Claire Mitchell)

Louise ambrook's Hands

2—16 Nov 2000 TIIE "81' 87