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



Popular posts from this blog

Peter Brook – The Prisoner

Peter Brook is no stranger to Scotland, ever since the guru of European and world theatre first brought his nine-hour epic, The Mahabharata, to Glasgow in 1988. That was at the city’s old transport museum, which by 1990 had become Tramway, the still-functioning permanent venue that opened up Glasgow and Scotland as a major channel for international theatre in a way that had previously only been on offer at Edinburgh International Festival.
Brook and his Paris-based Theatre des Bouffes du Nord company’s relationship with Tramway saw him bring his productions of La Tragedie de Carmen, La Tempete, Pellease et Mellisande, The Man Who…, and Oh Les Beaux Jours – the French version of Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days – to Glasgow.
Thirty years on from The Mahabharata, Brook comes to EIF with another piece of pan-global theatre as part of a residency by Theatre des Bouffes du Nord, which Brook has led since he decamped to Paris from London in the early 1970s. The current Edinburgh residency has alr…

Romeo And Juliet - Shakespeare's Globe Comes to Glasgow

Open-air Shakepeares are a summer-time perennial of the theatre calendar, attracting picnicking audiences as much as midges. More often than not, such romps through the grass are frothy, heritage industry affairs designed to be accompanied by strawberries and cream and not to be taken too seriously. Shakespeare’s Globe theatre company look set to change such perceptions when they open their outdoor tour of Romeo And Juliet in Glasgow next week as part of the West End festival.

For the two young actors taking the title roles of the doomed lovers, it will also be something of a homecoming. Richard Madden and Ellie Piercy both studied in Glasgow prior to turning professional. Indeed, Madden has yet to graduate from the acting course at RSAMD, and, as well as facing the pressures of playing such a meaty role in close proximity to the audience, will have the added anxiety of being assessed and graded by his tutors.

“This is the end of my third year,” says Madden following a Saturday mornin…

Suzy Glass – Message from the Skies

Freedom of movement matters to Suzy Glass, the arts and events producer currently overseeing the second edition of Message from the Skies.This animated literary derive around the city forms part of this year’s Edinburgh’s Hogmanay programme, and runs right through till Burns’ Night. Glass’ concerns are inherent in the event itself, which has commissioned six writers from different disciplines and experiences to each pen a love letter to Europe. Each writer has then paired up with a composer and visual artist or film-maker, with the results of each collaboration projected in monumental fashion on the walls of one of half a dozen of the capital’s most iconic buildings.
With venues stretching from the south side of Edinburgh to Leith, and with one city centre stop requiring a walk up Calton Hill, there is considerable legwork required to complete the circuit. It shouldn’t be considered a race, however, and audiences are free to move between venues at their leisure, visiting each site on d…