REVIEW DRAWING, VIDEO & INSTALLATION MARTIN CREED: THINGS The Common Guild, Glasgow, until Sat 3 Apr ●●●●●
There isn’t generally a lot of humour to be had in contemporary art exhibitions, but Martin Creed’s new exhibition at the Common Guild can be counted among the finest exceptions. Seventeen of Creed’s works, which are always numbered rather than titled, are exhibited under the wonderfully vague title of Things. The exhibition is beautifully installed, as comes as standard at the Common Guild, even when the work consists of nails in a wall, pot plants or piled up boxes.
Without a careful perusal of the list of works, there’s a risk that you’ll miss several, such as a chrome-plated brass protrusion attached to the front door or the crumpled ball of paper in every room. However, there are some you can’t miss, such as the very strange growth on the wall in the hall, and the door that will only open 45 degrees because of a mischievously placed doorstop. Inside the first room the curtains open and close of their own accord. Upstairs a lamp goes on and off. A door is opened and closed by an unseen hand. The house is being haunted by a poltergeist with a sense of the absurd.
Most famous (or notorious) for winning the Turner Prize in 2001, nominally for gallery lights going on and off, Things is a brilliant (re)introduction to Creed’s work – playful, irreverent but always inspired. The Common Guild is a little off the beaten track, but the joyful stuff of Things is the perfect excuse to make the trip. (Liz Shannon)
REVIEW PAINTING & SCULPTURAL INSTALLATION ALEXIS MARGUERITE TEPLIN: 5CM HIGHER Mary Mary, Glasgow, until Sat 27 Mar ●●●●●
‘Femininity’ is central to Alexis Marguerite Teplin’s work, currently on show at Mary Mary. Refreshingly, this exhibition does not engage with depressing pastel coloured clichés of femininity, but contains art that expresses the ‘feminine’ in its most positive sense.
In contrast to many contemporary artists’ restrained use of colour, Teplin’s works feature multiple areas of bright varicoloured paint. There is a tangible sense of uplift upon entering the gallery space as sparks of vibrant colour jostle on the surface of the paintings and sculptural pieces. An industrial looking metal stand supports a book about Martha Graham, the title of which has been altered through the application of colourful paint to gnomically state ‘ART AHA’, while a portrait of the dancer and the stand itself are similarly embellished. Teplin frequently utilises found material that she has
purposefully reconfigured to reflect a ‘feminine’ sensibility, which generally seems to add something
affirmative – even celebratory – to the overall effect. A pair of the artist’s shoes – worn, sensible black ones – are placed on the floor, with a piece of felt wedged at the back of one shoe, while the other has a slice of felt covered in plaster under its heel. Both are filled with white and nude plaster oil paint, giving the impression that the artist has mysteriously melted into her shoes. In the next room, three images from Anthon Beeke’s dubious Naked Ladies Alphabet of 1971 are altered by Teplin’s addition of a surrounding of multi-coloured paint. Although she only covers white space, the ‘letters’ (which spell out ‘O MY’) seem celebratory, rather than silly and slight.
Teplin’s works repeatedly allude to art historical figures and movements: the application of patches of colour in her paintings recalls Cezanne’s ‘taches’, while the use of off-white felt, and the exhibition’s title, riff on Joseph Beuys. While these art historical signposts may be identified by the cognoscenti, failure to do so in no way inhibits the visceral enjoyment of the work. Viewing Teplin’s work is an invigorating experience – perhaps this is a conscious by-product of the transformative nature of her practice. (Liz Shannon)
REVIEW INSTALLATION PETER LIVERSIDGE: THE THRILL OF IT ALL Ingleby Gallery, Edinburgh, until Sat 10 Apr ●●●●●
Liversidge has built up a reputation on the back of his ‘proposals’ for artworks and this latest exhibition is a series written for, and realised at, the Ingleby. His suggestions to the gallery’s owners range from the tangible (proposing to paint the gallery entrance bright orange) to the impractical (installing a volcano within the space) and the humorous (inviting the Reid brothers to walk 500 miles and then 500 more). Several selected proposals are hosted in physical form over two floors, with the
complete typewritten set (created between 14 November and 20 December) framed and running at an even height around the perimeter. There’s enough here to keep a visitor occupied for some time, but it’s also possible to dip in and out on separate occasions. Performance-based proposals will also take place during the exhibition run, including the highly anticipated ‘Gin Performance’, during which the artist will give a motivational speech to Scottish business leaders.
While the realised pieces and artefacts are outnumbered by the ideas surrounding them, much of the joy of the exhibition is to be found in reading the texts – while carefully stepping around the many coloured die arranged on the floor. The upstairs space seems sparse by comparison, but is carefully thought out, and easily relates to the corresponding text below. The overall impression is of a wild imagination and the possibility that anything could happen, the artist keeping viewers on their toes and open to suggestion. (Miriam Sturdee)
4–18 Mar 2010 THE LIST 89