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I N E T S N E T H C E L M U E S U M T S N U K
W E V N O T B H X E
RETROSPECTIVE BILL BOLLINGER Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh, until Sun 8 Jan ●●●●●
Onscreen in black and white, a man is attempting to stand a log upright of its own volition. Time and again the man methodically lifts the log off the ground, moving it from horizontal to vertical before it topples as though felled with some invisible axe. For a second it looks like it’s there, only for it to go down with a silent thump. It’s a Sisyphean task, and, as the film’s jump-cuts suggest, one that took an age. Then, finally, in what’s become an unpredictably prolonged performance, the log is up there, standing tall, proud and monumental. So what does the guy do but only go and knock it over some more. ‘Movie’ goes some way to explaining the high-tension
methodology of the late Bill Bollinger, the aeronautical engineer turned 1960s New York contemporary of Bruce Nauman, Robert Ryman and Eva Hesse. Unlike those celebrated artists, Bollinger died in obscurity in 1988, aged not yet 50. This lovingly sourced retrospective, instigated by the Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein, Vaduz in partnership with the Fruitmarket and the ZKM Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe, shows how much Bollinger was a sculptural and architectural stunt-riding daredevil.
Wire-mesh sheets roll into humpbacks like a skeleton for a skate- park. A taut rope runs the length of the downstairs room, dividing it in two. Pipes lay coupled on the floor, splayed and in repose. Strung- up wires zig-zag the ceiling like a choreographed pas de deux between sail-boats. Bill Bollinger was lost in space, both of his time and out of it. In his
meticulous re-arranging of the everyday there are clear umbilical links to Martin Creed and Karla Black, both of whom have had solo shows at the Fruitmarket in the last year. As an anteroom floor is half-coated with graphite, it splits up the light and shade of a place where Bollinger left his footprint for others to follow. (Neil Cooper)
N O S T R E B O R K O N E B
PAINTING THE SCOTTISH COLOURISTS SERIES: FCB CADELL Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art Two, Edinburgh, until Sun 18 Mar ●●●●●
To modern eyes this retrospective of the work of early 20th century Edinburgh colourist FCB Cadell might appear a little staid, a procession of chintzy New Town interiors and still life compositions involving china crockery and the distinctive white sofa in Cadell’s George Street flat. Yet, viewed in the context of the era, and with the twin influences of the burgeoning art deco movement and Cadell’s time on the front during the First World War fresh in the mind, the decades-long development of the artist’s skill in capturing the colours and properties of light is laid bare. The viewer is guided through the earlier soft-focus effect of an almost mark-making painting style which reaches its apogee with the Gaudi-esque colour splashes of a Venetian café scene, to the harder- edged effect of his rustic Iona landscapes and some bright, sharply sunlit villas in Cassis. From the simple refraction of light through a flower vase filled with water to the emerging definition and sensuality in the faces of a procession of his signature black-hatted ladies lounging in drawing rooms, the tightening of Cadell’s abilities over a lifetime’s work is striking. (David Pollock)
SCULPTURE, OBJECTS THEA DJORDJADZE: LOST PROMISE IN A ROOM The Common Guild, Glasgow, until Sat 26 Nov ●●●●●
Strange objects roughly sculpted in plaster, propped up against walls, placed in corners and laid out in unusual places, are contrasted against minimalist lines of steel and smooth mirrored cubes. A lump of chicken wire is securely contained in a vitrine, and a light blue carpet dirtily abstracted with large strokes of white paint. Georgian born, Berlin-based artist Thea Djordjadze made most of these works specifically for the space. Her work displays the sensibility of a shaman’s hand that sculpts objects carbon dated to the present day.
While the simple linear forms reference ideals of
the modernist museum display, the hand-made materials subvert this notion through its seemingly lo-fi quality. Through observing the carefully considered and meticulously placed collection of 21st century paraphernalia one can almost make the bold statement that it aims to find a means of communicating (via the material world) with the spirit realm. These look like objects attempting to alleviate the secular status quo of its irreverent worldview. The artist is an obsessive compulsive enchantress working with simple materials to bring forth convoluted forms. (Talitha Kotzé)
MIXED MEDIA GROUP SHOW Transmission Gallery, Glasgow, until Sat 26 Nov ●●●●●
A commendable group show brings together new work by nine Glasgow-based artists at the Transmission Gallery. Without a didactic theme to tie the exhibition together the viewer is free to contemplate works individually and to make subtle links with neighbouring pieces.
Highlights include Sam Derounian’s theatrical wooden cut out of a figure’s silhouette suspended in the air. Downstairs, Graham Kelly’s HD video is a collage of studio, found and location-shot footage and plays on the viewer’s emotions – overwhelmed empathy is cut short with tedious monotony, only to be drawn back in through beautifully shot images of the remnants of archaic culture that stirs up archetypal emotions.
Accomplished painter Conor Kelly, whose
practice operates within the excessive presence of history, here uses a stream-of-consciousness automatic technique, which results in the canvas being layered with its own painterly history. His brilliant titles – ‘K-Hoole / The Peacock Angel’ and ‘Don’t Switch Dicks in the Middle of a Screw, vote Nixon ‘72’ – consolidate concept and its material execution. (Talitha Kotzé)
17 Nov–15 Dec 2011 THE LIST 119