REVIEW INSTALLATIONS LARA FAVARETTO Tramway, Glasgow, until Sun 13 Dec ●●●●●
Kids wriggle out of their parents’ hands and run around imitating the colourful carwash brushes that spin like whirling dervishes. Choreographed by Italian artist Lara Favaretto, these large kaleidoscopic objects have been installed around the circumference of the Tramway. Placed together in small clusters, their huge bristles come to life, set by a timer to morph in and out of playful, differently textured shapes, their centrifuges birthing an outlandish creature. Favaretto is interested in the
tragicomic characteristics of the carnivalesque, and her works take on a performative element where she is conscious of the viewer’s interaction fulfilling the meaning of the piece. Her wider oeuvre plays with using the viewer’s imagination to complete an idea piece.
There is also an intentional element of termination here as the brushes sweep against iron slabs, wearing out their bristles. Similarly, a series of compacted black confetti cubes are placed in the middle of the space – inevitably perishable as the movement of passersby and wind generated by the brushes will cause them to end up in a pile of multitude shreds of paper.
Bearing some resemblance to abstract paintings and titled with names such as ‘Harold and Maude’, ‘Fantaman’, ‘Scarlet Witch and Silver Surfer’, kids will have the best of it as they clearly perceive these objects as fun, unpredictable moving things five times their size and a trigger to their inexhaustible imaginations. (Talitha Kotzé)
Visual Art David Hall, ‘Tap’
REVIEW FILM RUNNING TIME Dean Gallery, Edinburgh, until Sun 22 Nov ●●●●●
This is an important exhibition. Surveying a recent history of artists’ films in Scotland since the 1960s, Running Time presents more than 100 single-screen film and video works. A testament to both the strength of time-based art as an artistic tool, and of the nation’s recent artistic outputs, the benefits and influence of this will be far reaching. The exhibition is split into five thematic programmes,
which run weekly, one after the other. ‘Portraits in Action’ explores an ongoing vogue for performative films. Clear examples of the ways in which film has been used to explore the use of the artist’s body come from established artists Smith/Stewart. ‘Mouth to Mouth’ (1995) and ‘Dead Red’ (1994) explore the pair’s usual concerns of sex and death, with films that figure the artists enacting unusual bodily experiments.
Similarly, recent graduate Ashley Nieuwenhuizen films herself performing animal-like acts in ‘Wearing the Fur’ (2008), while in ‘Goldfish’ (2009) we see the artist turn her mouth into a fish bowl. Jason Dee’s ‘Running Time’ (2007) and Mark Neville’s ‘The Jump Films’ (1996) exemplify the manner by which filmic techniques such
as slow motion have enabled artists to manipulate the ways in which their performances are received. A further strand of interest is the use of film by these artists to parody, explore or critique the roles played by artists. American performance artist Paul McCarthy’s irreverent film ‘Painter’ (1995) is currently being screened alongside ‘Running Time’. Satirising the image of the painter as a solitary genius, McCarthy’s work is in keeping with the comic explorations conducted by Beagles and Ramsay in their film ‘Two Fine Examples of British Dentistry’ (2009). Tragicomic works also come from Alan Currall and David Sherry, while the inclusion of Phil Collins’ ‘He Who Laughs Last Laughs Longest’ (2006) confirms that humour is a key trait.
The works selected are strong and well presented, they offer the opportunity for concentrated considerations of the medium, and the exhibition presents an intriguing array of established, mid-career and emergent artists. The catch? By its very nature, film saturates, and viewings of this scale don’t make for light work. While at points hard to consume, at no point does it overwhelm, and cleverly, one is able to appreciate its diverse parts as equally as its significant whole. (Rosalie Doubal)
REVIEW GROUP SHOW NEW WORK SCOTLAND PROGRAMME Collective Gallery, Edinburgh, until Sun 22 Nov ●●●●●
Three swings with long chains made of china and crockery currently hang from a great height in Craig’s Close. Staggered and poised, they drop in close proximity to the walls: only chinks remain between the unforgiving brick and the fragile porcelain. If you were to swing from them, their supports would crunch and crack in your grip, a thought that lends a menacing depth to this, artist Jennifer Grant’s playful piece. Standing sentry for the level of work currently exhibited by the rest of the New Work
Scotland artists, Grant’s off-site installation proffers a raw mix of risk and considered creation; an alternative model that in turn makes provision for alternative thoughts. Inside, Glasgow School of Art graduate Michael White’s sculptures stage a not-so-formal investigation into formalist concerns. Lacking the sensitivity exhibited elsewhere, the artist juxtaposes guttural and dissonant plastered sculptures with sleek geometrics.
The Guest Room has been turned over to selected curators PLACE Projects, a Glasgow- based artist-led initiative. As a result, much lauded young artist Rachel Maclean has collaborated with Simon Gowing, and a pleasing presentation of Maclean’s signature hyper- kitsch sits with a minimal work by Gowing. The most interesting work, however, comes from Anna Tanner. Washes of paint on paper re-work and stretch the medium, and like Grant’s successful works, point to alternative ways of imagining a scene. Tanner achieves incredible levels of suggestion from little workings, and her paintings, which contain playful references to archetypes from film Westerns, elicit an unmatched vitality. (Rosalie Doubal)
Anna Tanner, ‘Calico Rock’ 5–19 Nov 2009 THE LIST 89