MIXED MEDIA PAOLOZZI AT 80
The Dean Gallery, Edinburgh, until Sun 31 Oct
A giant, gleaming Vulcan in the hallway, a Mickey Mouse tapestry on the wall, abstract musical designs on the ceiling, plinths with mutant heads and a plastic snail under Perspex. These are just some of the exciting and intriguing pieces of work included in the Paolozzi retrospective. Arranged in chronological order, the exhibition is a dizzying array of the talent and intellect that Paolozzi invested in his work. He took the tenets of surrealism and extended them to help create and develop Pop Art. The colleges and screen prints on display are testament to the inspiration he derived from popular culture and his determination that
prints such as Calcium Night Light, which was a tribute to composer Charles Ives. These abstract prints are the graphic equalisers of Paolozzi’s imagination.
He was able to not only deconstruct the barrier between high and low art but also to expose the frailty of the human body. The human head fascinated him and he represented it in the mechanical, the real, the cubist and in tribute to Mondrian and jazz. They are like the trophy heads of Paolozzi’s artistry. Early work made using wax and bronze casting, such as Shattered Head and Icarus I and II are macabre and compelling reconstructions of the human body - the bronze still retaining its waxy sheen as though a ﬂame could melt it away. Dynamic, inspiring and faultless. (Isabella Weir)
there is no limit to the imagination. On display are
prints of his 1952 Bunk! Lecture, which is seen as the beginnings of Pop Art. It is easy to imagine the disdain and excitement that such a mix of images from planes to porn generated. The collage I Was a Rich Man’s Plaything includes a Coca-Cola bottle, which became one of the central motifs of Pop Art. But Paolozzi distanced himself from the Pop Art movement, which he described as a ‘dive into a barrel of Coco-Cola bottles’, preferring his art to be an ‘extension of radical surrealism’. The central motifs in his work emerge as soldiers, clocks and space travel; today they produce a potent nostalgia. He also produced large suites of screen
CRAIG MULHOLLAND Sorcha Dallas, Glasgow, until Sat 3 Jul .000
Installation shot: Plastic Casino
Plastic Casino is a dense thing. To simply list the influences and allusions Craig Mulholland has drawn together at Sorcha Dallas and in a former sewing factory space would take up most of the current issue of The List. In among the paintings, sculptures. murals and video works. though. there are recurring elements that provide a clue to the underlying structure of the show. First comes a pair of paintings — Grey Ecology and Circuses & Bread — both depicting stubbed out cigarettes. The ashti'ays are rendered in a knowingly ham- fisted photorealist style. the ash is cubism-by-numbers. and big, fat Pop outlines are thrown in for good measure.
Then there are the artists' palettes. painted over with hints of art history. from Russian
Suprematist geometrics to cartoonish speech bubbles. Finally. an arrangement of blocks is reworked. linking dystopian cityscapes seen from above. architectural maquettes and the agency of the human hand. Add to that the presentation of paintings on squat plinths that practically ooze irony. and it begins to look as if lvlulholland is sticking two fingers up in the face of a century of art history and saying: “Hey. painting! Come and have a go if you think you're hard en0ugh!'
There's much else to think on besides. from nods to the spaces status as a former sweatshop to a queasy examination of consumerism, but this show is about an artist engaging with his influences. mixing allusion and cynical appropriation. There's a fine line between hubris and Chutzpah. and Plastic Casino is just on the right side of it. (Jack Mottram)
1’ unit" 7”: i f. ‘1'. :3 . if l' * M» - -.
3; Fate and World Powers from Z.E.E.P., 1970; B.A.S.H., 1971
PAINTING DELIA BAILLIE Royal Scottish Academy Building, Edinburgh, until Sun 4 Jul .00
Confronted by some of the most awesome landscape in the world — the most vast. dramatic and unpredictable and then the most tame outposts of human extravagance. all night diners and casinos — what would you do? It's the contradiction that faced the winner of the Royal Scottish Academy Alastair Salvesen Travel Scholarship. Delia Bailie. as she took her cash and gambled it on the west coast of America for one year.
Fittingly. perhaps. you win some. you lose some. And when Baillie's winning, there's no stopping her. Mineralogy is a wide expanse of flat. pale blue that's scattered by an explosion of red and gold stones. geometric and rough. random and designed that are patterned like camouflage; the outline of an electric fan floats into the corner. There's a profound sense of heat and of the ancient geological energy that exists within the tension of the San Andreas fault — an electric fan doesn't stand much of a chance against such elemental force. Meanwhile. All-Nile Breakfasts uses a dice metaphor to dramatic effect. The little red cubes of fate are flung on the surface of an outline of America on glossy black board: maybe sometimes you don't get a good coffee at three in the morning. and then sometimes it blows your mind. Or perhaps the symbolism is further reaching than that — the possibilities are infinite.
For anyone who's a map and/or wild-west fanatic. Forest and Air Force Base are a joy before any artistic doctoring has taken place. Places on the ‘United States Department of the Interior Geological Survey' such as Misery Hill. the Heart. Thumb Rock and Hidden Valley. are fabulously evocative and show the eternal human quest to map and order wilderness. American domination reveals itself in a more sinister way in the presence of the air force base.
The gamble doesn't pay off so successfully in the smaller tablets. but in one final piece simply called California. layers of orange. pink and pale turquoise are over painted with yellow contour lines. It's a celebratory 'ta-da!‘ that sings the light and space of this golden state. (Ruth Hedges)
24 Jim—8 Jul 2004 THE LIST 85