VIDEO & SOUND INSTALLATION LEI COX CCA, Glasgow, Sat 1 Jun—Sat 13 Jul
Lei Cox makes work that falls somewhere between sculpture, sound, design, digital painting and video art, a complex amalgam of contemporary practice that defies classification, but is nonetheless immediate and accessible.
‘l’ve always been outside of video art,’ says Cox. ‘I don’t see what I do as “video art”, it’s contemporary art. i make video painting, video sculpture. I’m interested in the immediacy of acquiring images. And if what I do is super-real, it has to have a real ingredient, involving something that is really happening in time, and that’s what attracts me to using the video camera. If I was working 200 years in the future, I’d be downloading these things directly into people’s brains.’
This super-reality ditches narrative in favour of Cox’s preoccupations, from cloning to a nod towards quantum mechanics in which the artist creates multiples of himself, existing more than one place at the same time, all within self-contained worlds. ‘You can look at it like that,’ he says, ‘but it’s more like the emptying out of the contents of a dream.’
most recent work. Among the several new pieces for the CCA is the hour-long Monument, in which a man walks onto a minimal computer-generated landscape. He throws rock after rock, each bouncing through the landscape, eventually forming a cairn thanks to ‘some gravitational force’. The final stone obscures his head.
Then there’s In Conversation With Myself as a V- Actor. ‘There are three people standing against a background shot of the Bonneville Flats,’ says Cox. ‘lt’s almost like a film scene frozen in time. One guy is dead on the floor, one guy saying: “You did,” another guy saying: “You didn’t,” so you have to work out who has done what and why.’
The CCA show, though, is much more than a glimpse into these otherworldly video microcosms; Cox’s first major solo exhibition in Scotland gives viewers the opportunity to appreciate the web of ideas that underpins his recent work.
‘lt’s not a retrospective, though some work goes back to 1997,’ he says. ‘It’s more a collection of work that has common themes. My obsession with ideas, scientific ideas like cloning, or the fear of messing with nature, means that the works are grouped together in a way and hopefully these pieces will work together to form a sort of harmonic.’
A dream-like quality certainly runs through Cox’s
Fruitmarkot Gallery, Edinburgh, until Sun 8 Jun 000
Homeslck, Renfrew Ferry, 2002 by Jennifer Beattie
In a showcase of newa commiSSioned work by eleven young Scotland 0w ed artists. presence is a bit of a hi‘: ~a .i-miss affair. Selected
80 THE LIST '.’3 Ma; i; Kid“ cry?
by the FrUitmarket Gallery with assistance from the Collective Gallery. some of the artists have worked hard to make their presence felt. Others have not.
Of the better works on display. Keith Thompson's incredible glass sculptures dominate the downstairs gallery. From a distance. severed limbs appear to float in a tank of stagnant green water — think of Damien l-lirst's tiger shark in formaldehyde — but close-up you discover layers of glass. sandwiched together. The two pairs of arms —~ one male. the other female -— were taken from plaster casts which were scanned in three dimensions and used to produced contour diagrams. Thompson has then etched each contour line onto the individual sheets of glass. As you walk round the sculpture. the image of the limbs change. as though caught in movement. Exploring the many properties of glass. Thompson has produced a striking. ethereal and imaginative work.
Upstairs Anna Ray shows Blossom. an animation of simply
Wave, 2001 by Lei Cox
drawn flowers moving gently as though swaying in the wind. But after spending time here. the individual petals change into outlines of faces. with lips pouted. softly kissing each other. In Ray's more familiar delicately embroidered drawings. she comments on human vulnerability. A figure just climbed out of a shell has the accompanying words: ‘Now that l have come out of my shell, how do l get back in?”
In Homes/ck, Renfrew Ferry. Jennifer Beattie has created a miniature plastic tree from urban detritus. Sitting atop a circular plinth. this artificial object is made up from discarded bottle tops. straws and bits of plastic. Attractive though the tree may be. it is fake. We are drawn to beautiful things. whether natural or man-made. Beattie‘s use of waste serves as a clever metaphor to explore human foibles.
Also worth mentioning are Scott Myles' bronze cast ice-cream ‘coops and Fred Pederson's narrative photo montage which juxtaposes the real with the imaginary. (Helen Monaghan)
News from the world of art
TOBY PATERSON HAS WON the third Beck’s Future award picking up a cheque for £24,000. Following on from the success of the prize’s inaugural winner Roderick Buchanan, the Glasgow-born artist was picked for his paintings of modernist architectural features, which are informed by skateboarding journeys around urban cities. Paterson’s first solo show was at the Modern Institute in 1999, and since then he has exhibited in Scotland and internationally. He also recently designed and constructed a skateboard park in the Royston Road area of Glasgow. The exhibition is on show at the ICA in London and will tour to Glasgow’s CCA from 2 August to 25 September. For more information www.becksfutures.co.uk
Beck’s winner Toby Paterson
THE SCOTTISH ARTS
COunciI wants to hear from every visual artist in Scotland for a survey that aims to find out artists' needs in post-devolution Scotland. This artists' audit also aims to raise the professional status of visual artists and will try to identify the barriers that prevent aitists from deveIOping their careers. Questionnaires are available from the Scottish Arts Oeuncil help desk and online www.scottisharts.org.uk and shOuId be returned by 31 May. STAYING WITH THE SAC, the Contemporary Art Society has received a £64,000 SAC Lottery award to help strengthen its support for collections of work by living Scottish artists. The society, which was established in 1910, purchases works of contemporary arts and crafts to give to its members which currently include the National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh and museums in Aberdeen, Dundee, Glasgow and Paisley. The CAS also assists individuals and companies to develop corporate and private collections. For more information call 020 7831 7311 or email email@example.com or log onto www.contempart.org.uk