‘KRUGER MATCHES SPOKEN WORDS WITH UNSPOKEN THOUGHTS'
Read m lips
Jack Mottram finds h self s KRUGER’s latest Glasgow installation.
or nigh on 30 years. Barbara Kruger has been
making work that. once seen. is immediately
recognisable. l'sing images drawn from the mass media. she crops them close and blows them tip big. overlaying texts set in stark l’utura Bold Italic. and limiting her palette to white. black. red and. latterly. green.
The bold graphic imagery is matched by bold statements — ‘I shop therefore I am’. "tell its something we don‘t know". ‘You are not yoursell”. or. simply. 'No‘.
In short. the one-time graphic designer and magazine art director uses the tools ol~ her former
trade to engage her audience in debate. with briel‘
texts serving as micro-polemics. pithy tracts that distil arguments on broad themes l'eminism. consumerism. identity into easily digested gobbets ol'opinion.
Kruger‘s current exhibition at (ilasgow’s (io.\l:\.
her lirst in Scotland. and part of the gallery's Rule of
Thumb: ('ontemporary Art and Human Rights series. sticks last to the artist‘s rubric of austere imagery and crisp sloganeering. lire/re. a sister show at 'l‘ramway. sees Kruger striking out in a dill‘erent direction.
First shown at Mary Boone (iallery. .\'ew York. in 2004. 'I‘it't’ll'r' is a video piece. Projected simultaneously on four walls. 12 Niel episodes unfold. the shortest just six seconds long. the longest l2 minutes. lt’s shown on a loop. and without opening or closing credits. and visitors find
themselves immediately immersed in the action. or
lack thereol‘. liach scene sees two. three or tour l‘olk
in conversation. each actor granted a wall ol‘ their
own. talking across the empty space between them. seated in an anonymous diner or nondescript domestic space. The talk is ol small things: friendship. family matters and art. too: quotidian and
rounded by voices in American artist BARBARA
mundane chatter that. more ol‘ten than not. escalates
into argument. .'\s conversations l'low. Kruger
matches spoken words with unspoken thoughts. running like a news ticker along the bottom of the tour screens. denying or conlirming the dialogue. This is less ol~ a volte-l'ace than it might seem. live/re at first appears to be a shill away from generalised priinouncements toward a more intimate evamination of contemporary mores. but just as Kruger’s universal teth are expressed in the closeness ol the first and second person. so the characters we briefly meet in lire/re are cverywomen and everymen. their relationships. concerns and ideals. while not writ large in white on red. occupy
the same campaigning space as Krugcr‘s lamiliar captions. the use of video. too. is not a disavowal ol‘
tc\t and image. but a continuation ol‘ the lascination
with and subversion of the media in Kruger‘s work. It the moving image is now the chief currency of
exchange. with 31-hour news channels and video tnissives overtaking newsprint and placards as the media ol' immediate comnumication and protest. it is no surprise to see Kruger bend it in her direction.
l.astly. lire/w. just like the (ioMA show and past installations. is overwhelming in its scale. immersing the viewer in lsrugcr's world. 'l’n't'li'r'. then. is a chance to see Barbara Kruger working outside the liuniliar. perhaps now ov er—l‘amiliar. aesthetic she has forged since the beginning of her career. It is also a chance to see her continue her campaigning. almost /ealous esamination of social issues and. as such. the piece might well reveal as much about her past and continuing practice as it reveals about the characters in 'liv‘r'li‘er short drama.
Twelve, Tramway, Glasgow, Fri 5 Aug-Mon 26 Sep.
"'3‘ Hayley Tompkins Scraps of paper soak up different hues of watercolour, while the gallery walls provide alternative surfaces for Tompkins delicate paint work. See review. page 50. Modern Institute. Glasgow. until Fri 2 Sep.
5* Barbara Kruger - Twelve People talk. argue. get upset and don't say what they really mean. This American artist brings her second major installation to Glasgow. revealing new video directions away from the iconic text. cuttings. statements in evidence at GoMA. See preview. left. 'l'ramway, Glasgow, Fri 5 Aug-Mon 96 Sep.
Women and War Powerful. direct but never pitying photographs of women affected by war. taken by Jenny Matthews in El Salvador. Afghanistan and the Middle East since 1982. See review. page 50. St Mungo Museum of Religious Art. Glasgow. until Sun 30 Oct.
it: Stefan Nikolaev - Come to Where the Flavour Is Pop art done the Paris- Bulgarian way. dealing with the tension between Cold War climates and Cultures. CCA. Glasgow. until Sat 3 Sep.
it: Ilias Papailiakis Dallas' latest show brings over this respected painter from the Breeder gallery. Athens with his dark oils, referencing myth and art history. Sorcha Dal/as. G/asgow. Sat (5 Aug Sat 70 Sep.
* Grand Tour - Matts Leiderstam This Swedish artist presents his longstanding project. taking the l9th century idea of cultural travel and improvement and linking it with. among other things. gay
cruising in the modern day. DC/i, Dundee. until Sun 25 Sep.
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