Skip to main content

The Other Side – A Dialogue: Karen Christiansen and Lys Hansen

Collins Gallery, Glasgow until August 16th 2008
3 stars
Lou Reed had never been to Berlin before he wrote his doomed rock opera named after the then divided city. If he had, it might have been even bleaker than it still is in its current concert revival. Karen Christiansen and Lys Hansen, on the other hand, know Berlin beyond the junkie romance, as a place of institutionalised brutality and a collective psyche split in two.

This summit meeting between Scotland based Hansen and German born Christiansen is a figurative look from both sides now at a past gone mad that should never be forgotten. Hansen’s work is dominated by busy, large-scale dream-scapes (one tellingly called ‘Lust For Life’) in which figures tumble, are beaten or kick-out at their oppressors, coloured deep red and purple like a bruise.

Christiansen’s series of monochrome heads are more defined, less angled, and are even more evocative of their subject. The oversize, monumental heads that dominate the room more resemble ornamental African carvings than anything European.

Christiansen and Hansen are from the generation Jeff Nuttall wrote about in his seminal analysis of the 1960s counter-cultural fall-out, ‘Bomb Culture.’ Already shell-shocked on both sides of the border, the move from guilt to rebellion to impassioned empathy is self-evident. Tellingly too, both artists explore the possibility of new life born into the rubble, be it surviving against all odds or else strangled at birth.

The List, July 2008

ends

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Clybourne Park

Adam Smith Theatre, Kirkcaldy Four Stars
It’s a case of whoops, there goes the neighbourhood twice over in Rapture Theatre’s revival of Bruce Norris’ Pulitzer Prize-winning play, which opens in 1959 in the same Chicago suburb where Lorraine Hansberry’s drama, A Raisin in the Sun, which appeared that year, is set. Here, Robin Kingsland’s Russ and his wife Bev, played by Jackie Morrison, are preparing to move out of their now almost empty des-res following a family tragedy.
Unknown to them, the bargain basement price tag has enabled a black family to move in, with Jack Lord’s uptight Karl a self-appointed spokesperson for the entire ‘hood. Russ and Bev’s black maid Francine (Adelaide Obeng) and her husband Albert (Vinta Morgan), meanwhile, bear witness to a barrage of everyday racism. Fast forward half a century, and a white family are trying to buy the same house, albeit with a heap of proposed changes which the black couple representing the block’s now much more diverse community aren’t…

Michael Rother - Sterntaler at 40

"There's so much to do," says an uncharacteristically flustered Michael Rother. The normally unflappably beatific German guitarist, composer and former member of Neu! and Harmonia, who also had a stint in a nascent Kraftwerk, is packing for live dates in Russia and the UK, including this weekend's show at the Queen Margaret Union in Glasgow.
"It has always been my choice to take care of these things myself and not have a manager," he says. "Somehow for me the independent aspect of doing things is really important, but it has its disadvantages."
As well as playing selections from Neu! and Harmonia, the trio he formed with Dieter Moebius and Hans Joachim Roedelius of Cluster, Rother's Glasgow date will see him play a fortieth anniversary rendering of his second solo album, Sterntaler, in full. Rother will be accompanied by guitarist Franz Bargmann and drummer Hans Lampe, the latter of whose musical involvement with Rother dates back to Neu! days, …

Kieran Hurley – Mouthpiece

Things have changed since Kieran Hurley first began writing the play that would become Mouthpiece, which opens at the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh this weekend. At the time, Hurley was, in his own words, “quite new on the scene.” As a writer and performer, he had already scored hits with Beats and Chalk Farm, two pieces that put him on the map with a new generation of theatre-makers steeped in an equally new wave of grassroots opposition that drew from the iconography of revolutions past. Where Beats looked at the politicisation of 1990s club culture, Chalk Farm, co-written with AJ Taudevin, focused on a teenage boy caught up in the 2011 London riots.
More plays followed. Some, like Heads Up used the same solo story-telling aesthetic to look at an everyday apocalypse. More recently, Square Go, written with Gary McNair, dissected toxic masculinity through a school playground fight.
All the while as Hurley developed as a writer, from new kid on the block to established provocateur, this…