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Summerhall Art Shows – Spring 2014

Loss, migration, the Holocaust and a strange form of post-apocalyptic euphoria filter in various ways through the latest sprawl of nine new exhibitions in Summerhall. The former comes into view most explicitly in 'Kindness of Strangers', the first UK show by German-American artist Stefan Roloff, whose large-scale video installation that charts the story of two refugees – a Sudanese woman and an Iranian man – in Berlin. This tented construction sits evocatively beside shadowed interviews with people describing their ideal world and an exploration of the detention of Roloff's father by the Gestapo .

The anonymity of Roloff's subjects is reflected in the black-and-white imagery of Karin Gunnarsson's 'Apparition', while the array of Beuysian detritus in Ian Hughes' remarkable 'Unearthed Tongues Set Free' mixes religious iconography with images from the Holocaust to give real life events a dignity and power, even as it reminds the viewer of their shocking roots.

Oddly, diemer Genesis vocalist and founder of world music festival, WOMAD, provides a link between Roloff and Hughes. While Hughes has provided album artwork for Gabriel, Roloff's video piece, 'Face', was produced by gim, with Gabriel using it as a prototype for the video that accompanied hos defining 1986 single, 'Sledgehammer'. The retrospective of photographic works by the late Edinburgh-based photographer Colin Jarvie is a travelogue of light which compliments an edited take on Harry Papadopoulos' celebrated images of Scotland's post-punk scene beteween 1979 and 1984. This in turn seems to erupt onto the dancefloor of 'Love To Love You Baby' , Kevin Williamson's filmic responses to eight songs by Donna Summer as produced by Giorgio Moroder, the German who revolutionised dance music for a post-war alliance between Europe and America that brought a generation back to pulsing, neon-driven life.

The List, February 2014


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