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Auld Alliance Contemporary Exhibition

Institut Francais, Edinburgh / E.D.S. Gallery, Edinburgh, both until
November 1st.
Three stars

French fancies abound in this group show of work from nine artists –
five French, four from Scotland - mixed and matched across two
galleries that bridge the gaps between Edinburgh's New Town and the
city's West End. This is made explicit in Samantha Boyes' florid
constructions, which at first glance look like afternoon tea is being
served until you notice the assorted stuffed bird's heads and other
wild-life nesting within.

This sets an anthropological tone that sees much monkeying around
throughout. Where Jacob Kerray's chimps in military drag come on like
dressing-up box tinpot dictators, Dix10's pistol-packing infant taking
aim at a kids entertainer's dog-shaped balloons in fatal repose gives
similarly subversive edge to such  otherwise cutie-pie subjects.
Elsewhere, few do this better than Rachel Maclean, whose explorations
of national identity by way of day-glo heritage industry kitsch were
first seen at Edinburgh Printmakers in 2013.

While there are no concrete connections between artists other than
geographical borders crossed, diversity, conflict and the tensions
between the two seem to be the point. Roma Napoli's arm-wrestling
Action Men and Paella's duelling bagpipers in particular show just how
fragile alliances can be.

The List, October 2014


ends

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