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SIMON STARLING doesn’t settle for halves. When the acclaimed Glasgow artist wanted to draw on the jungle, nothing less than a tree from Trinidad would do.

Words: Helen Monaghan

imon Starling is still printing. Using sixteen

woodblock prints made from the timber of a West

Indian cedar tree. Starling is hand-printing a design by the Austrian architect and designer Josef Frank onto 16m of fabric. But then this comes as no great surprise. Starling seems drawn to labour-intensive projects.

His forthcoming exhibition at DCA is the Glasgow- based artist‘s first major solo show in Scotland and will give audiences the chance to explore his meticulous practice. Since graduating from the prestigious MA course at Glasgow School of Art in 1992. Starling has enjoyed international success. widely exhibiting at home and abroad. He was included in the British Art Show 5 and Mani/exit: 3 and has been awarded the Blinky Palermo Prize. the Henry Moore Sculpture Fellowship at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art in Dundee and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation Award to Artists.

For Djimgcl (the Swedish word for jungle). the flamboyant designs of Josef Frank are the starting point _ for this new body of work.

Frank. based in Sweden.

produced over 200 patterns between I909 and 1950. He defied contemporary sensibilities by offering a welcome contrast to the linear. grid-like restrictions that defined modernism and the Bauhaus.

‘The work is about translating things from one context. from one country to another.‘ says Starling. ‘The textile design that I am using is based very much on tropical vegetation which Frank created. He never left the city and appropriated all his imagery from books but he tnade these vivid designs and the project is about. in a very simple sense. trying to link the image of the

86 THE LIST 2() Jim-A Jill 200?

It’s scatological and a bit confused, but it has this bizarre logic

From ‘The Pink Museum’ (Porto) 2001

jungle that Frank produced.‘

Like similar projects. Starling traces things back to their roots. Whether it's travelling to licuador to lind a

balsa tree to build an aeroplane in [1' Jun/in Sits/main or

returning Rhododendron plants from Scotland to the south of Spain. from where they were first introduced. Starling takes an idea and pares it down. He Uses a diverse range of materials. ranging from Frank‘s textiles designs to a Fiat IZb or a disassembled grand piano. and then relocates and contextualises them.

‘In a way it‘s a reflection of how I or we exist in the world these days.’ he says. ‘lt's kind of scatological and a bit confused sometimes but it has this bizarre. perverse logic to it as well.‘

In the new work. Starling has been provided with a tree from Trinidad to create the woodblocks. The completed design will then span the gallery space and behind the curtain. will be the remains of the tree and the materials uses in its production. Starling not only gets to the core of his chosen subject. but shows every aspect of its evolution to finished exhibit.

The other piece in the exhibition is based on a flower kiosk in Malmo. which was designed in I967. This modernist structure was designed simply to fulfil its remit of providing daylight for the plants and a window- for selling them. Starling has redesigned this structure in response to the architecture of the space. The building becomes a ‘weed. an opportunistic building in relation to the exhibition space. trying to find the light in the space.'

‘I am looking at the relationship between modernist structures and modes of production and nature in a simplistic. reduced way.’ he says. 'l’ve made a lot of work that relates to modernism or the modern moment but increasingly I'm more and more interested in a contemporary sense of geography and how the world functions as far as the way things are produced and where they are produced and the implications and politics of that.‘

Simon Starling: Djungel is at Dundee Contemporary Arts, Sat 22 Jun-Sun 11 Aug.


’i L_alft@li8t.co.uk

News from the world of art

THE SEARCH IS ON FOR THE most innovative design created from a Red Bull can. The Red Bull Creative Contest is an open competition and the resulting works will be displayed at the Art of Can exhibition at the Old Fruitmarket, Glasgow from 1—13 October. First prize is a break in the Ice Hotel in Sweden, a 60-room hotel made entirely of sculpted ice with £1500 spending money. Runners up will win breaks to Barcelona and Prague. Deadline for entry forms is Mon 15 July. For more information check out www.redbullcreativecontest .co.uk

Red Bull’s canned creation

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