Visual Art '
‘I WOULDN'T SAY I'M PARTICULARLY MORBID AS A PERSON'
Lucy Skaer talks to David Pollock about working in different media and her love of collaboration as a major new exhibition of her work arrives at the Fruitmarket
s an artist who once claimed to have secreted
moth and butterﬂy larvae into the Old Bailey
and reportedly left a scorpion and a diamond lying side by side on an Amsterdam pavement. convention is not something we would expect of Lucy Skaer. While the above claims were made on posters the artist created for Becks Futures in 2003. the Cambridge-born. (ilasgrm-educated and based Skaer works over a variety of media. often in collaboration and always to strongly conceptual principles.
‘If you wanted to put me in one box id be a sculptor.‘ she says. “But generally I work in lots of different mediums. and I like to collaborate too. Collaboration gives me a sense of diminished responsibility: it‘s like taking a holiday from my own work.‘ The exhibition at the Fruitmarket will reflect on Skaer‘s career since 200i. with a series of drawings appearing alongside the film work ‘Flash in the Metropolitan'. which Skaer created alongside her most frequent working partner Rosalind Nashashibi in 2006. The pair have now collaborated on four shows together.
The centrepiece of the show will be a range of new work commissioned by the Fruitmarket. including three large-scale drawings and a new sculptural piece. ‘These pieces are pushing at the boundaries of the existing work.‘ says Skaer. ‘They‘re stretching it. testing things out. The sculpture is inspired by the Danse Macabre. by the original woodcuts of skeletons coming back to haunt the living. which I saw in a museum during a residency in Basic. So my installation takes these skeleton figures and makes them into plaster sculptures.~
94 THE LIST '22 Mayef) Jun 2008
The mechanics of her design are complicated. The plaster sculpture is segmented from the core out. like an orange. and Skaer describes it as resembling an ‘anti-sculpture' in that it looks the same from all angles. ‘I suppose the installation is about the boundary between the realm of the image and our actual realm; between symbolism and actuality. That's why death plays a part in the piece. as it has done in others I‘ve made. because death crosses
between these two realms. It‘s the symbolism of
death which interests me. rather than the actual event — I wouldn't say I'm particularly morbid as a person!‘
Skaer also recognises connections between her own work and the far cruder forms of the l)anse Macabre. 'The Danse Macabre is like a kind of early conceptual artwork.‘ she says. ‘There are so many conventions in those images which you understand. They‘re designed so that death — the figure of the skeleton — is only visible to the person who's facing it. who death is approaching. and there‘s quite a high level of complexity in that.‘
Skaer‘s other new work is similarly concerned with such formal aspects. albeit in a less complicated way. She will be inking tip the surface of an old Georgian table and printing it directly onto paper. so that the scratches and holes in the surface become the image.
‘lt‘s just a very easy way to create a 2-D image out of a 3-D shape. which again refers back to this difference between the image and the actual. I don‘t want to get too into analysing them. though. because l'm just making them now.‘
Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh, until Wed 9 Jul.
Ii: Ellipsis Lynne Cooke, curator of New York’s Dia Center for the Arts, brings together works by Francesca Woodman, Chantal Akerman and Lili Doujourie, three uncannin similar artists who challenged ideas of female representation in the 19703. The works on display include Akerman's ‘Mirror' (pictured above: Courtesy Marian Goodman Gallery, Paris).
DCA, Dundee, until Sun 22 Jun. * Lucy Skaer The Fruitmarket exhibition charts Glasgow-based Skaer’s career since 2001, with a series of drawings appearing alongside the film work ‘Flash in the Metropolitan', which Skaer created alongside Rosalind Nashashibi. See preview, left. Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh, until Wed 9 Jul.
* Michael Stumpf: Gléckchen Whiplash The German-born, Glasgow-based sculptor returns to Sorcha Dallas with a series of works which meditate on the natural properties of durable materials such as bronze and aluminium and touch upon themes of transience and dislocation. Sorcha Dal/as, Glasgow, Sat 31 May— Thu 5 Jun.
* Peter Liversidge and Fishchli + Weiss The latest in a series of short exhibitions celebrating the lngleby Gallery’s tenth anniversary pairs photographer Liversidge with offbeat film artists Fischli + Weiss. Liversidge’s new series. ‘Zoo Polaroids (Barcelona)'. plays on the uncontrollable aspects of photography. See preview, page 95. lngleby Gallery, Edinburgh, Sat 31 May—Sat 7 Jun.
* X (Group Show) The Recoat Gallery celebrates its tenth birthday with an exhibition featuring ten artist from around the globe whose works are influenced by design, illustration and graffiti. The title refers to the roman numeral rather than X— rated content. See preview, page 95. Recoat Gallery, Glasgow, Sat 37 May-Wed 2 Jul.