BEOK’S FUTURES AWARD CCA, Glasgow, until Sun 25 Jul 0..
Award shows are curious things. Work is gathered together without rhyme or reason, with a series of solo shows grouped together, their only connection being a stamp of approval from the judging committee. The CCA - often a disjointed space - serves to heighten this distancing effect, tucking work away in upstairs spaces or screening it in the venue’s pokey cinema, leaving visitors to pick out a trail signposted by bored gallery attendants. Only two artists benefit from this pick’n’mix clash: Hayley Tompkins and Tonico Lemos Auad. Tompkins’ wall-drawings and her works on paper and board are given room to breathe in the central gallery space and she responds with new work more delicately abstracted, more fragile than usual. Next door, Auad’s foxes and rabbits, made of fluff teased from a carpet, laid on the gallery floor, share the rigour and control, and contrasting lightness and fragility, seen in Tompkins’ small paintings. It is, perhaps, the prevalence of film and video that denies other nominees such lucky juxtaposition. Of the artists working with moving images, there’s a strong divide between those making work that is, to be frank, interminany dull, and those using the
medium to make mesmerising film pieces that might be more at home in the cinema than the
gallery. Andrew Cross and Ergin Cavusoglu fall into the former camp. Cross stretches audience anticipation to breaking point, showing 30 minutes of train track before the money shot of a thundering train disappoints, while Cavusoglu’s four-screen projection of ships passing in the night, soundtracked by muttered radio traffic, loops forever, which is
ALAN CURRALL: SOME THINGS I WANT TO SHOW YOU Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow, until Sun 22 Aug 0..
The problem with video art is its potential to drain already overworked senses — intriguing until you get the point; inclined to overstretch and labour that very same point once you do. Therefore it's nice when the artist keeps the flab to a minimum and their ideas to the forefront.
All of which means that the work of Staffordshire-bom, Glasgow-based. Beck‘s Futures-nominated artist, Alan Currall, is a mixed bag. The longer works such as Pretending To Live In a Safer World and Head are the most rewarding. but then maybe
Come in like this . . .
too long for anyone. Saskia Olde Wolbers, the award winner, fares bettter. With silvery architectural detail and bobbing, mercurial polyps on screen picking up hints from the narrated confessions of a deluded man caught between truth and fiction, Wolbers weaves a wonderfully complete world out of her text and maquettes.
Tonlco Lemos Auad’s carpet fluff sculpture
Similarly, Haluk Akakce offers an immersive experience, with shifting blocks of colour dissolving and resolving into suggestions of imagined architecture. There is much here, then, of the highest standard, but it is let down, inevitably, by the higgeldy-piggeldy presentation, making for a weak show full of strong artists. (Jack Mottram)
not entirely worth their near- quarter-of-an-hour run time. The first two complementary videos. on the other hand — Come In Like This. . . and How l Would Probably Do lt — are shOrt. sweet poems to body language as performed by the artist himself, Currall, staging expressions of absolute sorrow and mirth in Come In. . . and letting his wiry, flexing torso hog the camera in Howl Would. . .. Interestingly, however. he depersonalises them somewhat by keeping his face out of frame unless absolutely necessary.
So to those extended pieces. The reversed footage of a heap of precarious objects being built/disassembled in Pretending To Live . . . is a smart visual puzzle. while the soothing Head possesses no easy in-point, a seeming spoken-word paean by Currall to his own physique. cooing from the loudspeakers. He makes the point himself in the programme that his works may only require dipping into — and seeing/hearing just enough of these last two to figure out his curious intention is enough to divine inspiration and negate the potential tedium of consumption in their entirety. (David Pollock)
l l l
FLORA LION’S PORTRAIT OF
by Elizabeth Goring
I first saw this pOrtrait in 1990 when I was
working on a wonderful exhibition called The Art
of Jewellery in Scotland for the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. I fell for it instantly, although at the time I knew nothing about the sitter. She is shown emphatically tub thumping, but there's a certain twinkle in her eyes.
What excited me were the two pieces of jewellery prominently featured at the centre of the painting. I discovered the medal was one awarded to imprisoned suffragettes who had been on hunger strike. The remarkable Arts and Crafts-style necklace particularly intrigued me. It eventually dawned on me that it was purple. white and green like the medal ribbon - the colours of the Women's Social and Political Union (the militant suffragist organisation led by the Pankhursts). She was clearly very proud of it and I think it must have been specially presented to her. Drummond's life story was riveting. Scottish by descent. she was one of the few working-class leaders of the WSPU. A forceful. popular speaker. much shorter than this portrait suggests (she was 5'1"), she organised disruptive suffragette campaigns and served as 'General Ofﬁcer of Field Forces’. famously wearing full dress uniform complete with epaulettes and cap. She endured nine prison sentences and five hunger strikes.
The painting led me to search for her jewellery. The medals are now in the Isle of Arran Heritage Museum but the necklace has disappeared. It also inspired 14 years' passionate research into suffragette jewellery. Above all. it opened my eyes to our debt to those who fought for women's right to vote. I never fail to exercise it.
I Elizabeth Goring is curating Treasures from Tuscany — The Etruscan Legacy, at the Royal Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, 76 Jul—31 Oct.
8-22 Jul 2004 THE LIST 77