REVIEW VIDEO INSTALLATION GERARD BYRNE: A THING IS A HOLE IN A THING IT IS NOT GI Hub, Miller Street, Glasgow, until Mon 3 May ●●●●●
This newly commissioned multiple-screen video installation by Irish artist Gerard Byrne takes its title from a statement by American minimalist Carl André. Byrne, who is lauded for his fictional reconstructions inspired by modernist aesthetics, here focuses his attention on the emergence of minimal art in the early 1960s. It is a testament to his artistic strength that this intelligent exhibition resonates further than its own artistic sphere, playing with newness, media, fictionalisation and the way trends begin.
It takes time to fully immerse yourself in the
installation, which consists of four films with four soundtracks, but once you succumb, you find the apparent complexity melting into clarity. He confronts us not only with chronicles of a projected future, but with past and present, fiction and reality.
Byrne’s technique is to bring the principles of epic theatre to the medium of film. One of the screens shows footage of a faux TV documentary, beautifully filmed in the Van Abbemuseum. It grants equal attention to minimalist works, their viewers, the
purring, lyrical presenter and the slowly pacing cameras, making you think as much about the mechanics of the documentary as it does about the stark galleries and their laconic occupants.
A second film further highlights the questions created
by the popularisation of the minimalist aesthetic by presenting an interview between two American minimalist artists, sculptor Donald Judd and abstract painter Frank Stella.
The screen flickers with radio dials and recorders, but it remains unclear whether the men are actors or whether the footage is of some ‘real event’. Crescendoing at moments when the other films fall silent, their mesmerising conversation – which touches on the idea of presence, an achingly relevant parallel – haunts the installation, forcing the viewer to ask questions about authorship and fabrication.
Two other films make more oblique references,
further adding to the confusion of Byrne’s visitation to this particular cultural moment. The result is a seamless fiction, in which most people will be able to detect historical points of reference. It is a resonant installation that presents a disorientating set of questions. (Rosalie Doubal)
REVIEW MIXED MEDIA LINDER: KING’S RANSOM (HYBRID TEA) Sorcha Dallas, Glasgow, until Sat 22 May ●●●●●
King’s Ransom (Hybrid Tea) demonstrates the breadth of Linder’s work through drawings, photography, collage and sculptural installation. Originally shot for i-D magazine, the photographs in the first gallery are the result of a collaboration between the artist and photographer Tim Walker, while the clothing was created with fashion designer Richard Nicoll. Voluminous coiffure, white gloves and heels all seem to indicate that the protagonist is a stereotypical Stepford wife; however, some of the more unusual items of clothing, such as a moulded plastic bustier – a cross between a bullet-proof vest and a medical support – suggest something more subversive.The artist’s poses are also at odds with the domestic sphere (vacuuming the lawn and sitting upon a kneeling woman in her underwear), and parts of her body are replaced or obscured by flowers. Next door is an intriguing sculptural
installation: several drawings done from pornographic images, and more collages – this time of glamour models and cakes. Some are effective, such as the woman covered by a giant gelatinous flan, but overall it is a weak critique of traditional female roles. A working knowledge of Linder’s oeuvre may enhance the viewer’s appreciation, but her upcoming performance at the Arches, The Darktown Cakewalk, should enable her to exhibit her talents to a greater degree. (Liz Shannon)
REVIEW SCULPTURE DAVID SHRIGLEY AT KELVINGROVE Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow, until Mon 3 May ●●●●●
A wee stuffed dog standing upright on its back feet with a placard that says ‘I’m dead’ welcomes you to the Study Centre in Kelvingrove Museum. Glasgow-based artist David Shrigley has replaced the objects usually on display in the vitrines and drawers with his own. While Shrigley is better known for his humorous drawings, this exhibition focuses on his sculptures – mostly made out of ceramics. All the objects are displayed without titles, dates or explanation, but here and there you will find the remains of the previous display juxtaposed with a tiny figure curled up in a larger than life-sized ceramic earlobe. Pull out a drawer and you might find a dead rat next door to a drawer filled with crackers of different shapes and sizes. The lack of interpretative material is reminiscent of museums with less funding:
the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, for instance, with its antiquarian clutter, broken statues and missing mummies, where interpretation is only available through your guide – who will provide a completely unique version of the story. Here, your only guide is a Shrigleyesque take on things: Frankenstein-like drawings of stuff growing out of a vase through an intricate net attempting to animate the inanimate; a suit of armour that has been offered a selection of black wellies; and a tooth that weighs 19.5kgs. Whimsical wit and manifestations of the absurd abound, but it is intriguing how comfortably this subversive exhibition sits within its surroundings. (Talitha Kotzé)
88 THE LIST 29 Apr–13 May 2010