REVIEW FILM & INSTALLATION TORSTEN LAUSCHMANN: THE DARKER AGES Mary Mary, Glasgow, until Sat 21 Nov ●●●●●
Torsten Lauschmann is an artist’s artist: highly regarded by his Glasgow- based peers, he never fails to impress. This show featuring a new body of work conjures up a cinematic experience as you enter a darkened room and find yourself somewhere between the thin veneer of reality and a filmic verisimilitude.
The space is filled with projected
images and the various pieces of equipment become integral to the works as projectors cast their own light shadows, asserting themselves as intriguing objects. In ‘House of the Rising Sun’, the image of a solitary house is projected on top of a wall- painted landscape and filled with luminescence that filters through the windows to cast long shards of light onto the dark planet. Watch carefully and you’ll see a figure move through the interior. In a mesmerising video projection,
the mechanics of the Victorian optical toy the thaumatrope – a precursor to animation and cinematography – have been employed to create a double- sided disk. An image of a young girl on the one side and an older woman photographed with a group of children on the other spin like a wheel of time, accelerating closer and closer to infinity. Like a memory coming to life, vivid, yet wonderfully magical, it provokes that enrapturing child-like feeling that we don’t often disclose to others. Lauschmann’s works are fabricated
in order to offer the viewer an engaging process of decoding. Here he manipulates cinematic technology to tell stories of its history while building new narratives through seductive imagery, creating an allure that exists on the edges of different worlds and unsettles as much as it enchants. ‘He’s got the whole world in his
hand’ is a Mac laptop pierced with a biro pen, the screen splintered into small sections, some blacked out and others remaining backlit. It functions both as dead wood and technology, and a tool to project a soundtrack of Tuvan throat singing – the motif of duality continued in the style of overtone chanting. Spot on. This exhibition is a remedy inspired by a darker-aged recipe only a white witch could have whispered in Lauschmann’s ear. (Talitha Kotzé)
REVIEW MIXED MEDIA BIK VAN DER POL: IT ISN’T WHAT IT USED TO BE AND NEVER WILL BE AGAIN CCA, Glasgow, until Sat 21 Nov ●●●●●
Dutch duo Liesbeth Bik and Jos van der Pol’s current exhibition at CCA is the culmination of a two-month residency at Cove Park. There’s no beating around the bush here: it isn’t what is used to be and never will be again. Deal with it.
Derived from a Paul Gauguin quote, the film
work ‘Art is either Plagiarism or Revolution, or: Something is Definitely Going to Happen Here’ takes as its starting point the unrealised Museum of the Revolution in Belgrade proposed under the Soviet regime in Yugoslavia.
Bik Van der Pol are interested in subversion, but mostly they are interested in what is at stake when
you don’t do anything. Inspired by Slavoj Zizek’s idea of doing nothing as being the most violent thing you can do, the pair explore his claims that the biggest threat today is not passivity, but pseudo- activity, masking the nothingness of what goes on.
In their ‘disappearance piece’, a self-help instruction book about committing pseudocide and constructing new identity has been legally pirated and reprinted in an artist edition. This book, published by radical publisher Loompanics Unlimited, is on display alongside others covering subjects such as black collar crimes, gourmet cannabis cooking, living naked and frugal, and how to drink as much as you want and live longer.
At first glance there is very little going on here, but give yourself time to work through the material and the nothingness might start to show through. (Talitha Kotzé)
REVIEW MIXED MEDIA DAVID AUSTEN: MY LOVE, I HAVE BEEN DIGGING UP MY OWN BONES IN THE GARDEN AGAIN Ingleby Gallery, Edinburgh, until Sat 14 Nov ●●●●●
At once fragile and striking, this collection of watercolour figures, bold text paintings and a silent film study of artist Enzo Cucchi smoking, presents a world that hovers at a slight, yet distinct remove from the ordinary. Rendered throughout with an arresting lightness of touch, a sense of unease pervades Austen’s figures, signs, plant life and ‘Smoking Man’.
A painting of a tree, heavy with odd globular fruits hangs opposite an abstract of a soaring headless man; lightly painted naked figures coldly touch and entice; bold and laden signs – ‘Paris Hotel’ and ‘City of Love and Fear’ – are painted with thin veils of oil and charcoal, and a disorientating coloured mobile hangs in the central space. Anxieties over sex, death, balance and the unknown prevail in Austen’s almost topographical depiction of this melancholic land.
Playing with the weights and nuances of association,
a hierarchy of effects begins to appear, with his bold text pieces demanding heavy attention and his figurative watercolours bringing about a gentler effect. This throws up interesting comparisons between the artist’s use of text, figuration, abstraction, sculpture and the moving image. While extraordinarily oblique, Austen’s attempt to balance these abstractions remains palpable, lending harmony to this otherwise disparate exhibition. (Rosalie Doubal)
90 THE LIST 22 Oct–5 Nov 2009