Visual Art



The Common Guild, Glasgow, until Sat 4 Jul mo

lntemationally renowned New York artist Roni Horn exhibits samplings from her oeuvre spanning three decades. Most of Horn’s exhibitions are site-dependent, and this selection too responds to the specifics of the venue. With her tendency to favour natural light, the high ceilings and large windows at number 21 Woodlands Terrace provide contextual prompts. But on a rare hot summer’s day in Glasgow, the beautiful interiors and the view from the second floor battle determinedly for your attention. The work, however, is strong enough to draw you back into the room.

For ‘Portrait of an image’, Horn asked the actress Isabelle l-luppert to impersonate herself in her various film roles. The outcome is a collection of portrait photographs capturing the changing lines, contours, crevices and skin tones of an unsettled facial landscape. The act of drawing is employed here in much the same way as in the ‘Clownpout’ series where photographic manipulation blurs a distinctive ‘clowness’ into liquid reds, whites and pinks. The most tactile manifestation of drawn images is found in a group of silkscreens where paper is meticulously printed, out and reassembled.

The connection between drawing and writing is evident when noting how text serves as an important aspect of Horn’s practice. She has described her relationship to her work as extremely verbal: ‘I am probably more language-based than I am visual, and I move through language to arrive at the visual.’ Hence the consistent use of drawing as both a practical and analytical device.

‘Gold Field’ is the result of l-lorn’s proclaimed desire for a closer relationship to the sun. This work consists of a thin sheet of pure gold. Slightly folded and crumpled it reflects gold light in upon itself, flickering, wavering particles of light taking on a life of its own and sketching shapes in shades of shiny gold.

Horn’s distinctive framing of the fine line between sameness and difference, through her modus operandi of pairing and doubling, are evident throughout the show. Her works are subtle, as if crafted with small pointed fingers through which knowledge flows in eloquent conceptual and physical dexterity. (Talitha Kotzé)

96 THE LIST 11—25 Jun 2009




Mary Mary, Glasgow, until Sat 11 The Modern Institute, Glasgow, Jul «0 until Sat 11 Jul mes:

Sculptures and drawings by Leeds- born. LA—based Thomas Houseago are exhibited alongside those of the late Swiss friends and collaborators Dieter Roth and Andre Thomkins. Nearly two generations apart. the artists enter into anachronistic camaraderie.

Thomkins developed his signature ‘Lackskin' technique by drawing with enamel paint on the surface of water and transferring the image onto paper. Examples are exhibited alongside a 1966 TV documentary which explains the technique and shows the artist at work. The documentary proves crucial to the appreciation of the drawings.

Adding to the chimerical tone, self portraits by Roth recall Rorschach tests. According to curator Toby Webster. Houseago‘s drawings quest after the possibility of also being sculptures, their monumental presence alluding to the predominant medium of the artist‘s practice. The works demonstrate how the artists deal with the transition between the language of drawing and sculpture. Both the objects and their placement in the show are well executed. Gratification comes in observing forms and subtle faces morphing in and out of shape. (Talitha Kotze)

Glasgow artist Lorna Macintyre exhibits silver gelatin prints, copper and wood sculptures. and a short looped video piece. “Naive composition’ is a small black and white photograph which acts as a coda to an installation of four wood and copper sculptures. These elemental parts form a larger whole, and the viewer is invited to play with perspective. Something electrifying unfolds when your position is slightly altered to a different vantage point.

Another strong piece is ‘Winter Sculpture'. a gold leafed branch suggesting the shape of an eloping antelope. The motif of shape shifting continues in ‘Agatha'. a small work which displays page 241 of Agatha Christie’s detective novel The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. With an iris petal pressed into the page. the heading reveals ‘The Whole Truth’.

A dichotomy is evident between the artist '3 assertive 3D thinking and her 20 reliance on embellishment. but this dynamic allows for engaging viewing. Weaving together images and objects in an exhibition bigger than its parts. sentences become paragraphs. (Talitha Kotze)

{tin/arse; FILM


Collective Gallery, Edinburgh, until Sun 19 Jul meet.

On the high diving board at the Commonwealth Pool weeks before the civic amenity built for the 1970 Commonwealth Games closes for refurbishment, junior members of Edinburgh Diving Club are showing off their air-to-water gymnastic skills. As a tea-time show-and-tell pre-cursor to the unveiling of these two new commissions. it falls somewhere between Busby Berkeley and Russian constructivism.

A perfect site-specific curtain-raiser. then, for the cast co-opted into Henna- Riika Halonen's filmed 12-minute re-imagining of Vladimir Mayakovsky's six-act play, The Bath House (first staged in 1930 by Meyerhold) which satirised Russian state bureaucracy on a set of steel platforms and staircases. Watching the film at the opening, its stars add a certain levity to this beautifully shot miniature, in which Halonen reimagines instructions from the original such as ‘The Director Choreographs A Ballet Depicting Labor's Triumph Over Capital' and the appearance of a time-travelling Phosphorescent Woman in a sparkly swimming costume adds an opaquely charming but gracefully angled use of space.

Jordan Baseman's 'A Hypnotic Effect' places a recorded interview with a veteran gym-user against rippling blurs of water in motion. As the man’s troubled past unfolds in a quietly matter-of—fact manner, off-set against the seductive ebb and flow of the visuals, a languid melancholy pervades the piece's nine minutes.

While the sound bleed between the two galleries is distracting. Commonwealth Suite perhaps catches the clamour of the pool at its busiest, with all the deep end fun involved. (Neil Cooper)

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