long elegant altuninium poles topped with solar panels of Modern Nature was commissioned last year for 'l‘yrebagger forest at lilrick Hill in Aberdeenshire. l'sing sound once more. the sculpture reproduces the call of the male capercaille. a bird not seen on the hill for fifteen years. And although the piece resembles a cluster of futuristic trees. Dal/.iel + Scullion’s intervention questions what makes a landscape natural.
‘lt's one of those hills that feels quite remote when you're on it.’ says the softly spoken Scullion. ‘But as soon as you look around you see mobile phone towers. a granite quarry and the city. You‘re very aware of the whole landscape and how it has changed around you.'
‘I suppose we're adding to that.’ adds l)al/.iel. careful not to interrupt. 'But these things are not always negative. People complain about mobile phone towers but just about everyone‘s got a mobile. We live in a society that is quite idealistic. We like to have our cake and eat it. If we want these things. we have to find ways as a society of making them compatible with the environment.’
Dal/iel + Scullion‘s exhibition at the l’ruitmarket (iallery marks the first time that the artists have produced a body of work conceived as a solo show. Their first solo publication surveying earlier projects to the present day will also be published. Since collaborating. the couple have worked together on 3] projects while still finding time to have a family: their son lithan was born three years ago. Now based in Broughty lierry. much of their work resulted from years spent living in the remote fishing village of St Combs.
‘lt took a couple of years to get to know the area and the people.’ says l)al/.iel. ‘11 was such a different pace. It was so slow
‘The hill feels remote, but you look around and see mobile phone towers, a granite quarry and the city’
and the days seemed so long but then gradually we got into it and started to notice things as you had more empathy with the environment.’
';\s an artist your income is really low and one of the good things about St (‘ombs was that we could live very cheaply.’ adds Scullion. ‘.'\nd at the same time I think we were more drawn to that way of life as you could really get involved with things that inspired you.’
For the l-rttitinai'ket. the exhibition includes pieces centred on .-\berdeenshire and the glacial landscape of noithern Scandinavia which the duo discovered during a recent period of teaching at the Kunstakademi in Bergen. Norway. \En'ugcr commissioned by the Yorkshire Sculpture Park is an installation of three full-size two- person tents cast in aluminium. The works suggest the idea of a nomadic lifestyle. of freedom and of escape. But equally. they could suggest something more sinister.
ln Ila/mitt. a video filmed in Norway of a group of penguins uprooted from their natural environs. they confront man‘s relationship with animals. ['pstairs in the gallery is a large-scale installation Uri/i. a photographic description of a glacial area in Norway which attempts to get across the sensational size of scale.
The video work. ll’utcr l-ii/ls Down. shows an adult baptism taking place in St (‘ombs The whole village watches on as the people are fully immersed underneath the waves. This rural
community still retains these traditions whereas most of its prefer
a civilised splash on the head. ‘There‘s a part of you that you’re closing off and that you no longer open up to experience.~ says Scullion. ‘llere was a community where most of the people lish. This is their livelihood in St (‘ombs. so it seems incredibly right for that rural lifestyle.’
Dal/iel + Scullion make comparisons between ancient and modern ways of life. the urban and the rural. posing questions
regarding life. nature. spirituality and the ongoing creation of our environment and our place within it. This is certainly the case for
tne after speaking to the artists. As the train pulls out of the station. I begin to contemplate the bigger picture.
Dalziel + Scullion opens at the Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh Sat 1 Dec.
18 THE LIST .V 1?;
o and Matthew on Ethan
Modem Nature reproduces the call of the long lost capercallle
Voyager presents three sinister aluminium tents