Collective Gallery, Edinburgh, until Sun 8 Apr 00.

Exhibition openings usually begin as civilised affairs. They tend, however, to degenerate into a room full of drunk people. Following this time-honoured tradition of a good night out masquerading as culture was the recent opening of Henry VIII Wives’ latest project. Overcrowded with people drinking and talking loudly, topped off with Bob Grieve, one of the collaborators singing a song, it was hard to tell the difference between the gallery and the local pub on a Saturday night.

Given the degree of frivolity accompanying an exhibition entitled Fear Of Death, it is safe to assume that we are not dealing with artists who take themselves too seriously. In fact this motley crew of young artists positively revel in the absurd results of haphazard gatherings. Coming together infrequently, Henry VIII Wives work quickly, responding to a given environment with work that ‘refuses to be read


Tramway, Glasgow, until Sun 15 Apr .000.

Mirror's Edge aims. ambitiously enough. to pin down current contemporary art practice. The whole shebang is based on the equally ambitious premise that nowadays reality and fiction are two sides of the same coin. Needless to say. Mirror's Edge doesn't provide an answer to the conundrum of whether mass media representation of the real has stolen art's thunder or not. but the show certainly asks the question in the best way possible.

The first thing you'll see is Thomas Struth's photographs of anonymous gallery-goers checking out paintings (just like you). followed by Yinka Shonibare placing himself centre stage in Diary of a Victorian Dandy. simultaneously mucking around with ideas of self-portraits. costume dramas and

history paintings.

If this pair are concerned with art and the artist. much more of the show is devoted to space. and how an artist is


Henry VIII Wives: Revelling in the absurd results of haphazard gatherings

from one position or conceptual standpoint’. In this case we are assailed with a portrait of Che Guevara made out of coffee beans, videos of animals and an incomprehensible man talking about his ailments while showing us a double door in his house. While it all might seem a bit ridiculous, there are images that stay with you: was the door a metaphor for the afterlife? Were those rats symbols of decay and death?

Kirsty Whiten’s drawings in the

to deal with it. Sophie Tottie‘s huge wall painting looms over

Bodys Isek Kingelez's tiny Blue Peter-style cellophane architectural models. for example. while Liisa Roberts' silent film projections are interrupted or triggered by motion


sensors in the entranceways to her to derive an approach


In the end. though. you can take or leave all this careful curation. as Mirror's Edge is an oppOrtunity to see a huge number of works by established and emerging artists alike. and. as such. is unmissable. (Jack Mottram)

Liisa Roberts’ silent film projection

project room are quite at home here. Her surreal works developed out of a list she had on her studio wall entitled ‘celebrities whose genitals show through their clothes’. Sexual overtones abound in works like Businesswoman and boyfriend, a direct quote from Sharon Stone’s infamous scene in Basic Instinct.

What is clear here is that art doesn’t always have to be serious, sometimes it can be downright silly. (Donna Conwell)

A living, breathing Hydra of an installation

The Arches, Glasgow, Sat 24-Thu 29 Mar.

The Arches' second foray into multi-media interdisciplinary

hybrid arts is upon us. Vault 2007 is not your usual group show. instead sixteen artists have worked together to convert the building into a living. breathing Hydra of an installation. The opening night is also far from the polite wine-sipping you might expect. incorporating a club night and live art alongside the artworks.

'The exhibition runs throughout the entire building. and the whole thing is like one installation made up of individual works of art and performances.‘ says Curator Guyan Poner. ‘A key element is movement. People will be able to move through the different areas and come across the different pieces. The work is supposed to have a coherence. but they are all very individual as well: we've got sculpture. video work and some paintings and there's no set theme. The idea is that all the works reverberate with each other. The artists have spent a lot of time together. working very closely with each other.‘

With works on show ranging from Susan Leask‘s columns of light rendered in material used on the railways. to Hugh Watt's wall projections of the moon. all the way on to Matt Hulse converting the toilets into ‘micro-auditoria.‘ Vault looks set to convert the Arches from a theatre-cum- nightclub into a work of art in itself. (Jack Mottram)


paorocmr‘» n JOSEF BREITENBACH National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh.

until Sun 3 Jun .00.

Gern‘vatt-An‘e'it‘ar‘ Joseph Bretter‘t‘avn Jim in ‘08“. leanina l‘et‘im .l ’egat“. of remarkable pirt‘tooiaphx. This exhittition is a. mini tutii to force of his early pert'at work in Gt‘l”\tl‘m. .l'XI Paris. snot in the 30:; and

early .it'is.


a k \ Max Ernst, Paris 1938

Discovered after his death, the photographs become all the more pOignant on the realisation that they were his travelling coinjxinions as he fled the Nazis tron: Germany to Paris to America. If all the faces captured here on illlll could talk what an ama/ing story would unfold. His circle of friends included many now famous faces who posed for Illll‘l Brecht outside the theatre. Joyce musing in his chair and Max Ernst in a jacket splattered with paint. From the mixture of light and shade to the expressions captured there is no doubt about the skill of the eye behind the lens.

The naked body interested Breitenbach (he once worked in a nudist colony) and this is reflected in the sequence of photographs which depict a naked woman called J. Greno and Breitenbach's friend Dr Reigler. a Harold Lloyd doppelganger. The staged photographs are humorous but it iS difficult to work Out whether Greno is an over-zeaIOuS mistress. a prostitute or a naturist caught indoors.

The photographs titled Boy. Girl. Laughter. Refugees all highlight Breitenbach's ability to capture the essential quality of his subjects and it is this ability which makes his work speCial. (Isabella WGIT)

15—29 Mar 2001 THE LIST 83