FIONA BANNER AND ANN LISLEGAARD
DCA, Dundee, until Sun 9 Jun 0...
Entering the space through a curtain of multi-coloured strips, you are confronted with a barrage of insults. Fiona Banner’s concrete letters, ironically titled Concrete Poetry, are assembled together to spell out words such as ‘pig’, ‘tit’, ‘tosser’, ‘moron’ and ‘spaz’. You feel as though you’ve been transported back to the playground, only instead of the abuse being audible, they are visible manifestations of what boils down to be childish, silly words.
These insults have at some time been hurled at Banner and it comes as no surprise that ‘wierdo’ (intentionally misspelt), ‘airhead’ and ‘copycat’ are among the name- calling. They are the kind of words often levelled at artists.
Banner furthers her fascination with language and its imperfections in Arsewoman in Wonderland. As in her previous work Nam, a 1000- page book describing six famous
Wetman war movies, Banner focuses on film, this time turning her attention to porn. On a huge screenprint is Banner’s blow-by- blow account in her own words of a porn film. it is nigh on impossible to read, not because of its explicit content, but because of its day-glo pink font.
In a similar piece, Your Plinth Is My Lap, a stereo on a mirrored plinth emits Banner’s matter-of- fact, monotonous description of events taking place in another porn film. What was once intended for sexual gratification is bared down to a clinical report of the extremes of sexual activities. Highlighting the peculiarities of language, it would seem that we are quite often lost for words.
Danish artist Ann Lislegaard’s first solo show in the UK features photographs and sound and light installations. In the piece !, she projects a red circle of light onto the wall with an accompanying soundtrack. As the colour intensifies, so too does the sound of a woman gasping. Visualising the exclamation mark, it is ambiguous
Concrete Poetry (detail)
as to whether the woman is expressing pleasure, shock or on the point of orgasm. But with the light resembling a sunset, Lislegaard transports the viewer to another place. She captures the moment when you see something beautiful, something that literally takes your breath away.
CLAIRE BARCLAY - SOME REDDISH
WORK DONE AT NIGHT
doggerfisher, Edinburgh, until Sat 25 May 0000
LENS-BASED WORK TEN THOUSAND LI Collins Gallery, Glasgow, until Sat 18 May 00..
The finish to many of Claire Barclay's sculptural pieces adds to a simplicity of form so smooth and impeccable as to draw attention to otherwise unremarkable surfaces. joins and edges. Barclay's undoubted response to materials imbues her work with strikingly tactile and sensuous qualities and a tangible sense of hands-on creation; the soft leather pulled taut across a curving see-saw-like bench. suspended by knotted rope; seamless wooden plinths holding terracotta vessels flawed. soft and slick.
Among the pen and ink drawings is one using motifs from Arts and Crafts textile and wallpaper design as a springboard for imagination, like the young girl in Kate Atkinson's Behind The Scenes At The Museum. who sees wallpaper ‘small in the air'. The delicate tension within these drawings is mirrored by that of the sculptural work; poised.
Secret Shadows by Dinu Ll
hanging and resting so gracefully within the space that a
mathematical formula COuld appear alongside. But a false sense of security is engendered here; these are beautiful
objects used for hunting and killing.
Barclay's hunting bows and ponyskin are the stuff of myths left behind from Greek and Roman gods but Diana's bow is also a harp plucked from an Edward Burne-Jones painting. or a scene stolen from Donna Tartt's Secret History. It's as though classical sculpture had been abstracted and reconstructed in a mix of ancient and
Barclay's work is generous. never mean-spirited in its conceptual challenges. and invites rather than demands intellectual reflection. The remote. detached beauty of this icily feminine work remains paradoxically emotive and
engaging. (Susannah Thompson)
Inviting intellectual reflection
Collins Gallery is celebrating the Year of Cultural Diversity. l have to admit that this worthwhile celebration had passed me by until I read the exhibition handout. But. after a visit to the gallery. I feel primed and capable of spotting and engaging in Cultural diversity.
Ten Thousand Li is a four-person show of lens-based work by Dinu Li, Yuen-Yi Lo. Yeu-Lai Mo and Pamela So. young Chinese descended artists living in Britain. The common Chinese phrase of the title refers to the great distance these artists and their families have travelled both physically and culturally to live in Britain (Li is a Chinese measurement eduivalent to 1.6km).
Ayrshire-born Pamela So's Dress Code was specially commissioned for the exhibition and was influenced by the attitude of three generations of women to the clothes they wear within different contexts.
London-based Yeu-Lai Mo's displays her Food Jars. which are revolting yet fascinating vials containing elements of British and Chinese diets. Preserved in landscaped layers in old sweetie jars: chips. noodles. carrots. lard. cornflakes. curry sauce. tripe and spaghetti ferment and mature. These works capture the oddities and similarities of diet: lOO—year-old eggs meet pickled eggs. This work brilliantly contains serious cultural analysis with humour and self-awareness.
Dinu Li's photographs depict the loneliness of being an immigrant. the guest to hold onto some familiar points of reference: whether famin photographs. a map or some fabric; even lowly items can take on the status of treaswed relics in a foreign place. This show succeeds in its analysis of genuine Cultural diversity and complexity. (Jennifer McGuire)
In our new column, a team of mystery artists will be giving their
thoughts on the current art scene.
WHO’S SPONSORING WHO?
Words: Artbug A
Open submission exhibitions abound these days. As soon as one show has ended there are calls for submissions to yet another. Everywhere artists are asked to submit work for selection, but at what price?
The Absolut Open a couple of years ago called for submissions from artists with a prize of £1000 as a sweetener for the best work. Over 400 artists applied for the exhibition at £15 a pop, raising in excess of 26000 in the process. Few artists were selected for the exhibition and the money raised amounted to more than six times the value of the 21000 prize. No surprise then that the sponsors became known as Absolut Rip-off and the subsequent exhibition earned the title Absolut Crap!
Since we’re on the subject of . . . the 176th RSA exhibition opened at the McLellan Galleries in Glasgow for the first time this year. This annual jamboree purports to ‘represent a broad spectrum of established artists with work in equal numbers by non- members and members.’
In truth, of the 378 works on show, half are by academicians who have an automatic right to exhibit up to six pieces each with the rest selected from around 900 non-members paying 95 per piece (sounding familiar?) for the privilege of submitting work for selection. Non-member submissions raise almost £5000 for the RSA coffers and unlike members comes with no guarantee of having a single work hung or even an invitation to attend the opening should a work be selected.
More ridiculous is that if the 73 academicians exhibiting this year each showed six works as is their right, there would be no space for non-members’ work in the exhibition. I suppose they'd have to give the five grand back then. Absolute nonsense or what! till If you have any comments, email react@/ist. co. uk
9—23 May 2302 THE LIST 91