Getting The Horn
After gaining public acceptance for their notorious stainless steel trumpet on the M8, DALZIEL + SCULLION are now turning their focus on Scandinavia and Aberdeenshire. Words: Helen Monaghan
he orange glow of the early morning light suffuses the landscape. Waves gently lap at the edge of the shoreline as the train trundles by. Cutting through rural and urban scenery. this journey from Edinburgh to Dundee seems wholly appropriate as I make my way to meet Matthew Dalziel and Louise Scullion. the artist duo who take much inspiration from the natural environment. Louise Scullion meets me at the top of the street and leads me to their studio-cum-office at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art. where they are working as research fellows.
Inside. Matthew Dalziel welcomes us into the nerve centre of
their operation. Along with the books. research materials and computers are small-scale models spread over tables and window sills. all preparations for their forthcoming exhibition at Edinburgh's Fruitmarket Gallery. And with just a few days to go before installation begins. Dalziel + Scullion are incredibly composed. liven their pet dog Bridget is curled up in a basket underneath the desk. That is until she spots me.
Dalziel + Scullion. born in Irvine and Helensburgh respectively. both studied at Glasgow School of An. In 1990. they participated independently in the British Art Show and around that time. they began to date. Three years later. while living in St Combs in Aberdeenshire. they made their first collaborative piece. The Barbers: three identical bathing compartments with 8mm film footage of aspects of the sea projected onto glass on the back of each. In 1995. they took part in the Venice Biennale. had ajoint exhibition at the CCA. Glasgow in 1996 and Endless/y. a video projection was shown at the National Gallery of Modern Art. Edinburgh in 1997.
For most people though. Dalziel + Scullion are synonymous with The Horn (1997). the outdoor sculpture sited on the westbound carriageway of the M8. The stainless steel structure leading to an oval trumpet. which intermittently emits poetry. music and voices at passing cars. has had its fair share of controversy. Costing £15().()()() to produce. with around £42.()()() coming from West Lothian Council. the sculpture attracted much negative press.
‘lt was quite exhausting.‘ recalls Dalziel. ‘There were endless meetings because there was no Lottery money at the time. Once the Lottery money came. it happened pretty rapidly but then there was this endless barrage from two papers. We almost had a daily campaign against it.‘
That said. The Horn has become a familiar part of the landscape and — as with their recent commissioned piece. Mot/em Nature — explores points at which nature and culture intersect. It‘s a theme that informs much of their work. The six
16 THE LIST 7:) Nov 13 [)(2(; 2001
Dalzlel + Scullion’s Land
The Horn, aka the only interesting thing on the M8