Visual Art


Running Time The major exhibition of artist films features work by Luke Fowler, Katy Dove, Mark Neville as well as influential pioneers such as Margaret Tait. Reviewed next issue. Dean Gallery, Edinburgh, until Sun 22 Nov. Taking Liberties: John ‘Hoppy’ Hopkins Essential retrospective of work by London’s snapper in residence for 60s counter-culture. Street Level Photoworks, Glasgow, until Sat 7 Nov. David Austen: My love, I have been digging up my own bones in the garden again Austen’s work presents a world that hovers at a slight, yet distinct remove from the ordinary. See review, page 90. Ingleby Gallery, Edinburgh, until Sat 14 Nov. Torsten Lauschmann: The Darker Ages Glasgow- based artist, filmmaker and live performer Lauschmann’s show transports you to a place between the thin veneer of reality and a filmic verisimilitude. See review, page 90. Mary Mary, Glasgow, until Sat 21 Nov. Charlie Hammond: The New Improvement Scheme Hammond explores different techniques of anthropomorphism in his work. Sorcha Dallas, Glasgow, Fri 23 Oct–Fri 11 Dec. Lara Favaretto The Italian artist brings her infectiously playful works and carnivalesque atmosphere to the Tramway. See preview, left. Tramway, Glasgow, Fri 23 Oct–Sun 13 Dec. An Entangled Bank To mark the bicentenary of Darwin’s birth a roll call of contemporary artists, including Christine Borland, Ilana Halperin, Brian Hewitt, Kenny Hunter and Ben Rivers, have created work exploring the great scientist’s time at Edinburgh University. Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh, Sat 24 Oct–Sat 12 Dec. 22 Oct–5 Nov 2009 THE LIST 89

Theatre of the absurd Rosalie Doubal considers the work of Italian artist Lara Favaretto, who refers to her playful installations as ‘fun machines’


A rtistic ‘Confetti Canyon’ lasts a couple of hours during which three hand-triggered canons shower the awaiting crowds with bright clouds of confetti. Italian artist Lara Favaretto’s seminal work offers its viewers an artwork that’s both unexpected and uncontrollable: a baffling happening that sets the stage for an improvised carnival. Shown several times since 2001, this artistic absurdity exhibits Favaretto’s continued interest in the ambivalence of festivals, and the momentary suspension of rules for which they allow, and exemplifies the way in which her artworks interact with both their audience and their setting.

While Favaretto’s works revel in the joy of creating nonsense, they are often involved in the planning of their own collapse, as curator Claire Jackson explains: ‘The playful visual language employed in her sculptures is often willfully undercut by a simultaneous resignation to failure or the melancholy of a missed event.’ Possessing a significant performative element that includes the mechanical nature of movement and corrosion, Favaretto’s works hurtle and accelerate towards their eventual wear, tear and dissemination. For the Tramway’s epic main gallery space, Favaretto has created a kinetic sculptural environment. ‘The exhibition features a new schematic of a series of independent works created with multi-coloured car- wash brushes,’ Jackson continues. ‘Each brush is regulated by a timer and turns on an axis at different speeds and intervals, lashing and thus gradually eroding the sheets of metal to which they are fixed.’

This description is reminiscent of Favaretto’s earlier

work, ‘It is so if it interests me’, for which the artist cut and wound 12 years worth of her own Rasta hair into a sturdy 15ft long hemp rope, attached it to a mechanical arm and hung it from a Turin gallery roof. Set in motion by the viewer, the lasso-like rope twists and writhes, marking the gallery walls. Both this past work and Favaretto’s new installation mimic the social structure of a carnival celebration, in which everyday rules are overturned and the inversion of authority is embraced. Inviting the viewer to partake in the amusements, Favaretto’s boisterous works turn upon themselves and strike out at their surrounds. ‘The car-wash brushes are destined to wear themselves out in a self-devouring process, evoking a feeling of emptiness or melancholy for the lost object,’ says Jackson, translating Favaretto’s concerns with festivals from the anthropological into the artistic, by making reference to the artist’s critique of the status of the art object as finished or autonomous. ‘The artist explores the significance of an artistic gesture that accepts eventual compromise,’ concludes the curator.

A series of ‘Judd-esque cubes’ created from densely packed confetti will also be on display at Tramway. Subjected to the laws of entropy over time, the viewers and brushes will create movements in the air that disrupt their minimalist forms, and, following the end of the exhibition, Tramway will be left only with the scattered confetti remnants of Favaretto’s mischievous work.

Lara Favaretto, Tramway, Glasgow, Fri 23 Oct–Sun 13 Dec.