Edinburgh Printmakers until July 20 4 stars At first glance, this body of some thirty-eight architecture-based prints and 3D constructions look like blueprints for some Russian constructivist science-fiction futurescape built for a Tarkovsky film by way of a Ladybird book. Look closer, however, beyond the sleekly-angled swish of the lines, and you'll see that these visions of the future were built some time ago, be it as airports, stadiums or any other epically proportioned hub of congregation, comings or goings as befits of any international big city metropolis brimming with ambition. There's a utopian urgency at play here, in images of locales that range from Charles de Gaule airport in Paris to Meadowbank Stadium and beyond that look like nothing on earth. With everything seemingly in motion amidst a fanfare of metallic greens and bloodrush reds, there's a wide-eyed sense of wonder in Sleigh's stranger's gaze that suggests she too might have come from another planet. There's something heroic too in the wooden and wire constructions dotted about the gallery like some undiscovered stratosphere, implying a voyage of discovery at every turn. One imagines the theme tune fanfares and sweeping strings of jet age pop anthropology show Wicker’s World being piped through these reimagined monuments as travellers pass through borders. Either that, or else the des-res idyll of 'Home Is Heavenly Springs,' the space-age installation brought to Edinburgh's Princes Street Gardens by art/pop conceptualists A Sudden Sway a quarter of a century ago. While the practical day-to-day reality of Sleigh's subjects with all their failures, design faults and terminal obsolescence will never match her unsullied visions, Sleigh is in one sense capturing a purity of an imagined future that went beyond mere functionality. In this sense, 'construct' is a form of legitimised nostalgia, both for a past intent on conquering worlds, and for an age yet to come.
The List, June 2013 ends