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FILM AND PHOTOGRAPHY TRACEY MOFFATT
Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh, until Sat 19 May 0000
The tragi-comic Scarred For Life series
Much of Tracey Moffatt‘s highly coloured and stylised work may initially seem at odds with European expectations of a self-conscious ‘cleverness' and stylistic understatement in contemporary art. In recent years. popular culture has often been employed by artists as an ironic 'tool’ to emphasise what can often be a
deliberately obtuse approach.
By way of contrast. it's refreshing to observe Moffatt's genuine admiration for ‘low-brow' film and television as visual and conceptual sources for her exploration of socio-political themes. The poignancy evoked by the subject matter of photo silk screen series /nvocations. and the film Night Cries. jars with Moffatt's high- gloss. ‘Disney-esque' use of colour and form, yet the work is imbued with a
disturbing yet compelling quality.
Laudanum, a photographic series presented as a story-board or set of film stills is arranged as a non-linear narrative. The sinister. voyeuristic vision of sexual and racial domination/subservience between mistress and servant can be unfolded by cross-referencing to Hitchcock. Jane Eyre and Bette Davis. The tragi-comic Scarred For Life series further explores power relationships in their pseudo- deadpan captioning of colour photographs lifted from a fictional family album. Along with films Lip, Heaven and Artist, Moffatt's street-wise humour is
Tracey Moffatt's work has been described as being open to ‘endless interpretative possibilities'. and it is in these possibilities that the appeal of this
exhibition lies. (Susannah Thompson)
INSTALLATION OLA PEHRSON Collective Gallery, Edinburgh, until Sat 12 May .00. Ola Pehrson clearly has a sense of humour. Of the three recent works on show, two are Iaugh-out-loud hilarious. Yucca Invest Trading Plant is just that, a small yucca that is wired up in such a way that its bioelectric currents buy or sell shares on the NASDAQ stock exchange, with profits doled out in water and losses in drought. It’s a good joke, but instantly points out the contradictions of the seemingly enclosed stock market system, reminding us that a couple of points on a share can mean the difference between a pay rise and redundancy. Next, there’s Desktop, 3 wall- hanging of familiar ‘Windows’ icons faced by a video camera. When the viewer passes through, they are captured and displayed on a PC monitor. Again, the first instinct is to laugh, but this is quickly overshadowed. For anyone who spends any time in front of a
90 THE LIST 26 Apr—IO May 2001
Pehrson reveals his sense of humor
computer, seeing yourself on the wrong side of the screen is uncomfortable, raising questions about everything from anonymity on the net to the glass barrier between the real and the virtual.
After these two disconcerting quips, Birthday Party is something of a relief. The more contemplative work consists of a cartoonish 1:10 scale model of a house, with sounds seeping out from the 65th birthday party of the artist’s mother. (Jack Mottram)
RSA 175TH ANNUAL EXHIBITION
City Art Centre. Edinburgh, until Sat 2 Jun 00.
The BSA exhibition is a test of endurance for any art l0\ er. With nearly $00 pieces of art from paintings to SCulpture to architecture from the basement to the top floor, hunting for ‘, our favourite piece is a daunting task The brain floods with fragments of faces. shapes and colours until sensory overload causes a ‘.‘.’Illi(?‘.'.’£tt%ll of individuality. It leaves you with the same lasting impression as a (iuick flick through an art catalogue.
Those of you looking for a shortcut would be advised to seek out the works that have been ai.varded prizes by the BSA. which are actually the best on show. The BSA aims to promote yOung artists liying in Scotland. mainly by gIVing them a public platform for their work.
The Winners this year include Kevin
\ Neal MacDonald’s Cave-In
Dagg's sand sculpture I), >;.'t‘."'.1. reminiscent of a small scale ht Itit§illtl scheme: Neal MacDonald's (Lite is and ’l’oiiioxuki Shiniadate's I we .‘Jixif. shaped like a large seiner shining pebble with a bun: imprint. llie unork on show won't oxerawe amont- litit it is Worth a look. no matter IitN. fleeting. ilsabella Weir»
COLLABORATIVE SHOW TI-IE TATTOOED ROOM
Transmission, Glasgow, until Sat 5 May 0.
The Tattooed Boo/n sounds like a really interesting exhibition with its attempt to turn a room into an inside-out body. traced with mythological and romantic inkeil images. Swedish artists Gerd Aurell and Anneli Fur'mark are presenting their collaborative protect for the first time in Britain after its debut last summer at a hospital for the mentally ill in Umea. Sweden.
Unfortunately. these hackneyed images of girls smoking tags and mysteiit iiis grey ponies are rendered so crudely and in such dull monochrome shades that the proiect fails to live up to its alluring title. While some of the paintings do draw upon such traditional tattoo parlour iconography as bleeding hearts and kissing cherubs. these works carried out in a slapdash style have little in common ‘.'.’llil the technique of a professional tattooist.
Indeed. they are more akin to the amateur drawuigs of fan/ine cartoonists the world over. Had the gallery been keen to stage an exhibition of graphic novel imagery. the decidedly more complex work of Love and Rocket's creators Los Bros Hernandez or Glasgow's own Mark Baines would have made a more exciting choice. (Sarah Lowndes)
DESIGN THE GLASGOW COLLECTION The Lighthouse, Glasgow, until Sun 1 Jul 000.
. At some point in life. inevitably. perhaps depressingly, you end up becoriiing
interested in home furnishings. Even the most destructive of hell-makers probably harb0urs a furtive desire for a nice sofa and a couple of decent dining-rooiii chairs.
The Glasgow Collection at The Lighthouse offers newly initiated design Junkies and strung-out. three-visits-to-Habitat-a-week-addicts. the perfect chance to Check Out tomorrow's innovations. Highlights include Ben Smith's Digital Cow drum. a perverse piece of design which manages to be funny. functional and stylish. and recent GSA graduate Nicola Moe's attractive domestic lights. Of the mOre practical design innovations on display. the ergonomic grip handles designed by Stuart Bailey. which have been adopted by Mothercare. are a good example of deSign helping to improve the quality of life at a basic level.
On the strength of this exhibition. the Glasgow Collections strategy of financial suppon has had a healthy effect on the city's army of designers. Of 50 projects supported. 23 are now in full-scale production.
If only they COuld get their prices as low as Ikea. (John BeagleSi
Perfect for three-visits-to-Habitat- a-week-addicts