REVIEW GROUP SHOW NICOLAS PARTY & CATHERINE PAYTON Collective Gallery, Edinburgh, until Sun 6 Feb ●●●●●
For the second instalment of the New Work Scotland Programme, artists Nicolas Party and Catherine Payton provide the Collective with a series of site-specific works. However, this manipulation of the gallery space is where the similarity between the pair ends. A charcoal still life, drawn directly onto the wall and framed by jarring orange and blue dashes of paint is Party’s explicit enquiry into the language of painting. The bold endeavour, which invests new meaning in a familiar art-historical motif through a new overstatement that almost swallows it up, contrasts with Payton’s nuanced selection of works.
Payton’s starting point is a screenplay adapted from a book by Martin Heald, a man she believed to be a reincarnation of her great uncle. The script, entitled ‘Destiny’, is stacked on a desk in the centre of the room with a series of props surrounding it. A grotesque severed arm is the most memorable, becoming comical in its artificiality upon closer inspection. Footage of Payton dancing in the space is also deliberately rudimentary but the ‘blinks’ that fragment the narrative are a complex nod to the ‘fades’ that continually pierce the script. Behind a locked door a flock of restless birds chirp, providing a bizarre soundtrack to a stage set that is impenetrable without reading the screenplay.
Divided into four acts, it seems unlikely that all who attend the show will do so, but whether this criticism should be levelled at Payton or her audience, is open to debate. (Rachael Cloughton)
82 THE LIST 20 Jan–3 Feb 2011
REVIEW VIDEO & PHOTOGRAPHY JONATHAN HOROWITZ: MINIMALIST WORKS FROM THE HOLOCAUST MUSEUM Dundee Contemporary Arts, until Sat 20 Feb ●●●●●
Don’t be fooled by the apparent dryness of the title of this major solo show by one of the most provocative American artists of the last 20 years. Rather than mimic the worthy but dull, opaque works that populate the United States Holocaust Museum itself, Horowitz serves up an infinitely more colourful and less ambiguous oppositionist response to assorted holocausts from a defiantly outsider position. So the life-sized photograph of an American tank emblazoned with a bumper sticker-sized image of a pink ribbon reflects the more feminised response to breast cancer produced in response to the ‘Support Our Troops’ ribbons that appeared during the Iraq War. This sets out Horowitz’s stall from the off, as he joins the dots between the artists who actually did produce work for the Museum alongside a fiercely partisan sense of creative and political solidarity.
The centrepiece of all this is ‘Apocalypto Now’, a video cut-up of sensurround disaster movies and documentary footage that creates a narrative of latter-
day holocausts – religious, sexual, ecological, governmental and artistic – recycled into a jump-cut composite where the epic join between real life and its wide-screen Hollywood interpretation becomes impossible to spot.
A central figure of the collage is born-again cretin Mel Gibson, whose own fall from cutting-edge superstar to booze-sodden, wife-beating racist can be seen elsewhere in the transformative series of movie posters that depict him morphing comic-strip style from Mad Max to a failed hangdog messiah. ‘Pink Curve’ reclaims the symbol Nazis tainted their
homosexual victims with on a grand scale; ‘Pillow Talk Bed’ jumps between the sheets with double acts from John and Yoko to Rock Hudson and Doris Day; ‘Crucifix For Two’ suggests institutional executions come, as with Noah’s Ark, in tandem; another video piece, ‘Art Delivers People’, serves up a hand-bitingly uncompromising message punctuated by the sepulchral loops of organ music by Philip Glass. All of this is too clever to be angry polemic, however, and lends a quietly inclusive wit to its world-changing intent. The closing credit of ‘Apocalypto Now’ says it all: ‘Universal’. (Neil Cooper)
REVIEW TEXTILES, PRINT & PHOTOGRAPHY MARC CAMILLE CHAIMOWICZ Inverleith House, Edinburgh until Sun 6 Feb ●●●●●✎
Echoing the words of his hero Gustave Flaubert, Marc Camille Chaimowicz’s first solo exhibition in Scotland is testimony to the notion that ‘Art requires neither complaisance nor politeness; only faith and freedom.’ Parisian Chaimowicz’s art shares the
schizophrenic trajectory of that of his late British contemporaries, Derek Jarman and Jo Spence, the punk performance work of his early 1970s work having given way to something more lyrical, introspective and political.
On the ground floor, innocuous selections of painted boards look like the discarded tests of an average textiles student. But this is less a show than a journey into context. Things take shape through an anti-chamber imbued by references to
Proust’s queerest book The Cities of the Plain, and then it’s time to bask in the afterglow of Flaubert, Genet and Baudrillard with his engagingly amateurish 1978 installation Here and There.
In the basement, things are contextualised. The plates in Robert Thornton’s The Temple of Flora form a basis for his progression towards etching and textiles. A vitrine of metal paint coloured roots confirms Chaimowicz’s obsession with the natural form.
Up two floors and it all makes sense. The tufted rug the artist realised with the Dovecot is beautiful. The incidental dressing tables, scattered with the remnants of hedonism, vanity and hero worship, the use of Edouard Vuillard’s stunning 1910 painting La Chambre Rose to evoke this place and time in the artist’s evolution then a return to trashy aesthetic of decorated screen divides and abandoned Sobranie Cocktail cigarettes. It’s all just decadence discarded in the winter sun. (Paul Dale)