GROUPSHOW’ SLEEPING WITH THE ELEPHANT
Tramway, Glasgow, until Sun 12 May 000
In 1969, renegade Canadian PM Pierre Trudeau coined the phrase ‘sleeping with the elephant’ to describe his country’s uneasy relationship with the USA. This exhibition of recent works by three Canadian female artists, curated by Nathalie du Briey and Clara Ursitti, revisits the evocative phrase in a contemporary context.
Recent events have destabilised ideas of America to such an extent that unexpected readings can be made of several of the works. Perhaps the most obvious example of this effect is found in Stacey Lancaster’s video work Empire, shot before the famous landmark became the tallest building in Manhattan again. But a morbid air
specific installation Used Cars, as the work utilises the phrase ‘l’m in Love With You’ taken from a song by recently deceased chanteuse Peggy Lee.
PATRICIA MACKINNON-DAY: HIGH RISER Gallery Of Modern Art, Glasgow, until Sun 19 May 0...
On one wall. a series of black text pane s :is We pro‘essror‘s. names. countries and languagtx; o‘ asyiti'n seekers. Tnese hand-written signatures sten‘n‘ing fron‘ Llli-il-l"; ems conduct :(i by artist Patricia Mackinnon-Da‘, min ref..gees :.\.ing II‘ the nigt‘. rise flats in Glasgoz'x's Sighthzli — speak '.’()§L.II‘(BE;. Asyiun‘ seekers are often referred to as j arasites on society: lno'elih/e challenges our preconceiitions about tnese displaced people. The text reveals the- persona‘ 'iistcres of the :i‘dmouais: they are no longer an anonyiitous pass but skilled people from different waiks of life. '.'.'Illl hopes. fears and desires.
Mackini‘ton—Day continues this theme in Kitchen - ['i’ifwnc‘” Se! »- r"./.':st‘. Blue and Living Fit/‘0'?) - r’§.'3.’"i::;:."‘ 8e? F’a' f? (E'eer‘. In large-scale sculptural reliefs. sne (iecor‘striicts sections of the in; ss-produceti 'startei' packs' used to refit the flats for new use to create a montage of everyday obgects. ‘\.‘.’e see fragments of ‘.'.'alipaper. carpet. cutlery. farnzture. and so for't'i. Each pack is identical. even (I()‘.‘.'fl to the fraii‘ed picture on the v-rall. The en‘phasis here is on econoi" cs rather Iltét" aesthetics.
The exhbit on concludes unit“. the video ﬁlming Box. Shot fron‘ ‘.'.’Iill.ll a izft an one c‘ the to‘.'.'er blocks. the len‘ focuses on the (loo s opening and closing as i‘. lY‘t)‘.’(}fS between ﬁne floors. As the doors open. .ve near the sowes of keys clinking. babies crying, a radio pla’.ing or a rear: ‘.'.”tlf$l:|ll(l. MEICKEIIIKNI- Day intentionally ()l“!l.53 any ‘.’!f$li£l' st 'is o‘ huiitan presence. further illustrating hour the government's policies on refugees. dej)ersonalises so inain 't(l".’l(lii£tlf;. iHeien l\./loiiagl‘.aii-
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On a decidedly lighter note are Sylvie Laliberté’s video works Mes Amis Les Poissons and Oh la la du also clings to Corinne Carlson’s site narratif! which show the artist clowning around in a boat and a snowy landscape. Like a less amusing Jacques Tati in the body of are not surprising enough to rouse recent screen heroine Amelie, Laliberté affects a girlish demeanour elephant. (Sarah Lowndes)
Used Cars by Corinne Carlson
as she rolls around in her swimsuit or bobble hat. She singsongs her experiences to the camera, notably of ‘a dying man who says that life is like the sky and then asks to drink a 7UP with you’. Laliberté’s posturings
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RAL VERONI - ‘ABOUT THE BAD RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN TIME AND DESTINY’
Street Level, Glasgow, until Sat 25 May 000
Time, The First Worker
Erwin Panofsky. the art historian and essayist famed for his studies in iconrxjraphy and iconology. would have found a perfect pared-down case study in Ral Veroni. The Argentinean artist's visual tables and multi-layered symbolism make cross-references to history. politics. philosophy and pop culture. He takes cartoon—like figures modelled in Plasticine — the incongruous embodiments of Time. Destiny. Injustice. Fear. Hope and the like — and Photoshops them into the cityscapes of Buenos Aires and Glasgow.
The images of Buenos Aires. Veroni's home. require an understanding of the political and soCiaI backdrop against which they were conceived. Images such as Absurd/hr /n The Centre and The Bone And The Multinationals are literally site— specific. commenting on how Argentina's economic crisis is set against anachronistic architectural symbols of wealth and power. To compensate. Veroni takes on more universal themes in his Glasgow images. while further exploring the idea of a city's collective conscioiisness.
The mandala prints in gallery two seem to refer to the cyclical nature of life and. again. to Argentina's struggle to maintain hope and optimism in the face of adversity. A case in point is The Power Of The Illusion which s set against the colour and composition of the national flag of Argentina. Veroni's work is at once higth personal ialmost confessional in his text based pieces. cathartic in his political commentaryi. but he seeks to engage the audience by juxtaposing his concerns WIll‘. iiiiiiierliately identifiable cross— ciiitural forces such as love. friendship, madness. hope.
The tragic» comic figure of absurdity inVites parallels With magic realism, demonstrating that Veroni takes life seriously. but not to i seriously. iSusannah lhompsoni
MIXED MEDIA THOMAS DALE AND LUCY LEVENE
Collective Gallery, Edinburgh, until Sun 5 May 00
The current exhibition at the Collective Gallery by Thomas Dale is a moderately amusing interpretation of the mundane. There are photographs taken down the legs of jeans and tops. a giant doorstopper and a film of leaf-patterned curtains blowing in the breeze. There is also a light bulb swinging to and fro and not forgetting the photograph of a carpet with a bump underneath it.
Unfortunately. it doesn't get much more exciting than that. Although it is tangible that Dale possesses talent. this is yet another exhibition where it is hard to discern any originality. You experience a creeping sense of disapporntment that yOu've seen it all before and too many attempts to subvert reality fail because they are just not clever enough.
In the other corner of the gallery in the project room are photographs taken by Lucy Levene of clubbers on Lothian Road. Again an interesting social study to pursue. but the outcome is no more exciting than looking at anyone’s snapshots of an evening Out where everyone is pissed or snogging. (Isabella Weir)
New work by Thomas Dale