MIXED MEDIA LIGHT WITHOUT SHADOW
- HENRY VIII’S WIVES Tramway, Glasgow, Fri 12 Apr—Sun
‘We’re a curator’s nightmare,’ says Bob Grieve, one of the ‘wives’ in the collaborative group, Henry Vlll’s Wives. ‘l’ve had curators coming up and saying: “Is there actually going to be a show?”’
There’s a certain amount of truth to Grieve’s statement. Coming together infrequently, the group of former Glasgow School of Art graduates, based in Scotland, Germany, Holland and Norway, meet up only a few weeks before the exhibition opens. There are no preconceptions about
they respond to a given environment, quickly creating site-specific works of art. With Henry Vlll’s Wives, you never know what to expect.
This unique, impulsive way of working, has, however produced startling and humorous results and earned them an international reputation. In 1998, they replicated Princess Diana’s smashed up car in Mercedes CL600. A Pictorial History Of The 20th Century, recreated iconic media photographs using residents of an elderly day care centre as their models. More recently, in Fear Of Death at Edinburgh’s Collective Gallery, a rat was shown eating a kebab out of Grieve’s mouth and the prominent
DRAWINGS AND SCULPTURE RUTH VOLLMER
Inverleith House, Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh, until Sun 5 May 0000
Ruth Vollmer's fascmation with the geometric composition of deSign led her to create fascmating and beautiful OOJCCIS of art which maths dunderheads everywhere need not be scared of. Spiral growth patterns. the golden centre and the FibonaCCI seguence need no longer be feared but understood as the baSIC shape of nature from seashells and Sunflowers to human beings and buildings SUCh as the Sydney Opera House. YOu may learn more from this exhibition than five years of the national Curriculum.
But. as Vollmer said. her work is not about mathematics but art. It is nonetheless very hard to dispense With the maths when surrOunded by spheres. Spirals and reproductions of Da Vinci's multiplication tables. But when before did you attempt to blow bubbles through polyhedrons dipped in soapy water and use bronze spheres as percusswe instruments?
This entertaining start to the exhibition makes yOu realise that Vollmer used the mathematics of nature to Create an and fun. The large aluminium Pseudosphere hanging from the ceiling is made of two concave spheres Joined together. the maths is complex but the VlSIOfl beautiful. As are her Perspex cub0ids and Cylinders cased beside a large screw and blue shell. The logarithmic spirals in shells are the theory of perfect growth pattern. so what better pattern to attempt to emulate?
This mixture of simpliCity and complexity is also apparent in Vollmer's drawings and sketches that look like the throwaway doodles of a mathematiCian. Even if you don't fully understand the theory you can still (Bll]()‘,' the art. llsabella Weiri
Blue Shell, 1 973
94 THE LIST ii 41/?) Apr Wit/7
portrait of Che Guevara was made what the work will be about. Instead, out of coffee beans.
The Wives aka Bob Grieve, Rachel Dagnall, Sirko Kniipfer, Simon Polli, Per Sander and Lucy Skaer are about courts sitting in on trials, working to tackle Tramway, in an exhibition commissioned specifically for the main gallery. Light Without Shadow, stemming from a series of residencies at Tramway since January 2001, marks their most ambitious project to date and their first publication We March Under The individual pieces, you get a more Banner Of Visual Art.
‘There’s large elements of the show the works combine to give a that are still in the planning and development stage,’ says Grieve. ‘We’ve got an idea of where we want it to go just now but we might change it the day before.’
Continuing the group’s interest in
Light Without Shadow
reconstruction, the Neolithic
settlement of Skara Brae in Orkney will be recreated in the space. They have also been going to various law
with actors at the RSAMD and spending time with blind people. ‘There is a starting point and the pieces form around it even though we are not consciously curating a point of view,’ says Grieve. ‘It grows organically and rather than it being
encompassing installation where all
particular environment or atmosphere.’
With the group’s installation still clearly in its embryonic stage, it looks like we’ll have to wait until opening night. (Helen Monaghan)
PRINTS AND POSTCARDS IAN HAMILTON FINLAY
lngleby Gallery, Edinburgh, until Sat 27 Apr 0000
Salty sea dog. poet or the Orkney's equivalent of Derek Jarman? Ian Hamilton Finlay is all these things. Born in Nassau in the Bahamas in 1925 he ended up in Glasgow and the Orkney Islands after his father lost a fortune running bootleg schooners. In the 608 he emerged as one of the bright lights of the conCrete poetry movement and over the last 40 years. he has worked on his beautiful garden in Little Sparta and concentrated on his own Wild Hawthorn Press. his singular publishing company that knocks Out thousands of his ocean-obsessed prints. booklets and cards.
This excellent exhibition gives a fine retrospective glance at the work of an artist whose output constantly hovers between a pastiche of pop art and the philosophically pastoral. Of the postcards that line the hallway. Marionette I (7978/. In A Fauve Painting (7998). and Lemon (I994; really stick out for their obsession With planes. art and scurvy. Lemon in particular is a joyous union of Warholian glee and aquatic concerns; a nice introduction to Finlay's sly humour.
The prints are more challenging With Finlay preferring to use mood enhancing Colours With either short poems (Zimmeret 7992) or abstract lines (St Ives Mackerel Driver 7996). He also likes Clinical draft drawings of ships' bows (Poem/Print no I f (Xmas Star), 1969). The artist comes more into his own with the playful overwew abstraction of Catermeringue r 7970/. the sweet poetiy of Rowan H98 7 i or the wordy playfulness of Sea/ifs (7969/. Well worth catching. (Paul Dale)
Urn (Garden Poem) 1986
ARCHITECTURE ANATOMY OF THE HOUSE
The Lighthouse, Glasgow, until Sun 26 May 0000
Anatomy Of The House takes us through the history of Scottish housing from Skara Brae to the present day. showcasing tive innovative new dwellings en route. It explores a cost-effective take on the traditional blackhouse. a colourful supported housing scheme and a deluxe city pad through video interwews With architects and clients. While the architects take a rather diy approach. the footage of the reSidents in their new homes prowdes a fascmating Through The Keyhole edge to the proceedings.
Certain themes connect through the various buildings. such as a commitment to maximising natural light and space. and using indigenous materials such as slate and larch. In the ingenious residential estates at Grangemouth and Slateford. the need for privacy and security is balanced with the desire for community links. Heartening though it is to see successful schemes such as these. it is imposSible not to wish that Similar care had been taken prewously with housmg in Scotland. In Glasgow espec:ally. the ‘low cost' post-war estates have brought a massive long term cost.
Still, Anatomy Of The House prowdes a tascmating glimpse of the real social changes that user-friendly housing can bring. As one satisfied client comments: 'This house has made us more of a family' (Sarah Lowndesi
Installation view of Anatomy of the House