Skip to main content

Alexander and Susan Maris – The Potter's Field / Tim Sandys – Damocles / Kenny Watson – Last Rites

Lust and the Apple, The Old School House, Temple, near Gorebridge until April 19th
Four stars

It's all too fitting that the outside lights weren't working on the opening night of this new venture from Paul Robertson, the iconoclastic former curator of Summerhall, whose sudden departure from the former Royal Dick Veterinary School in August 2014 has yet to be explained. Situated in the former primary school of a Midlothian village fourteen miles south of Edinburgh and steeped in Knights Templar folklore, Lust and the Apple's opening triple-headed hydra of shows appears tailor-made to cope with electrical gremlins, and seeing the work in the raw and partly shrouded by the blackest of night skies enhances rather than denudes their sense of public ritual.

This is evident from the moment you enter the old school's car park to be greeted by six helium balloons suspended in mid-air, each with a wooden spike pointed firmly downwards. As indicated by the spikes already embedded in the earth, when the balloons burst, the spikes will plummet downwards without warning.

This is Damocles, a new installation by Tim Sandys, which reworks the Greek myth of power, responsibility and the constant state of dread imbued with both, for a prevailingly precarious state of twenty-first century doom. That the inflatables that hang above us are themselves in the hands of gravity gives any visual sense of party-poppers and other such fripperies a grotesque sense of foreboding flapping in the wind.

In terms of narrative thread, in the unlikely event of prosecution for any of Damocles' potential impalings, in Lust and Apple's world they may well end up Suddenoakdeath, Kenny Hunter's wooden approximation of an electric chair which sits on the schoolhouse garden in the shadows as part of his all too appropriately named 'Last Rites' compendium of sculptures and paintings.

Perhaps it was here that the nine classical Muses lined up in pretty graves all in a row in Alexander and Susan Maris' 'The Potter's Field' were shocked into submission, sizzling spiritual inspiration to a crisp before being laid to rest. But these are paupers graves, simple mounds of earth, each one candle-lit by night and marked with only a piece of white quartzite from the Knights Templar linked Perthshire based mountain, Schiehallion.

As for survivors, they're more likely to be found indoors in the schoolhouse itself, even if a less pronounced but still tangible air of (self) negation permeates throughout. This is best seen in the main room largely devoted to Watson's paintings, where, besides the window, the lid of a small metal box bears the legend, 'PERHAPS ALL PLEASURE IS ONLY RELIEF'. The quote is from novelist, junky and explorer of altered states, William S Burroughs. Inside the box is a set of works for cooking and shooting up heroin.

The rest of the room is a infinitely brighter affair, with some of Watson's drip paintings leaving patterns down the walls like candy-striped wounds making a bid for freedom. The room's centre-piece, however, is Intermission, a billboard sized splash of movie iconography in which poster girl starlets who might just be some auteur's muse are immortalised in triplicate. For the debut of Lust and the Apple, this umbilically linked three-way split of life, death, transcendence and renewal is the perfectly dark entry to a potential cult in the making.
 
The List, February 2015

ends



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Losing Touch With My Mind - Psychedelia in Britain 1986-1990

DISC 1 1. THE STONE ROSES   -  Don’t Stop 2. SPACEMEN 3   -  Losing Touch With My Mind (Demo) 3. THE MODERN ART   -  Mind Train 4. 14 ICED BEARS   -  Mother Sleep 5. RED CHAIR FADEAWAY  -  Myra 6. BIFF BANG POW!   -  Five Minutes In The Life Of Greenwood Goulding 7. THE STAIRS  -  I Remember A Day 8. THE PRISONERS  -  In From The Cold 9. THE TELESCOPES   -  Everso 10. THE SEERS   -  Psych Out 11. MAGIC MUSHROOM BAND  -  You Can Be My L-S-D 12. THE HONEY SMUGGLERS  - Smokey Ice-Cream 13. THE MOONFLOWERS  -  We Dig Your Earth 14. THE SUGAR BATTLE   -  Colliding Minds 15. GOL GAPPAS   -  Albert Parker 16. PAUL ROLAND  -  In The Opium Den 17. THE THANES  -  Days Go Slowly By 18. THEE HYPNOTICS   -  Justice In Freedom (12" Version) 1. THE STONE ROSES    Don’t Stop ( Silvertone   ORE   1989) The trip didn’t quite start here for what sounds like Waterfall played backwards on The Stone Roses’ era-defining eponymous debut album, but it sounds

Big Gold Dreams – A Story of Scottish Independent Music 1977-1989

Disc 1 1. THE REZILLOS (My Baby Does) Good Sculptures (12/77)  2. THE EXILE Hooked On You (8/77) 3. DRIVE Jerkin’ (8/77) 4. VALVES Robot Love (9/77) 5. P.V.C. 2 Put You In The Picture (10/77) 6. JOHNNY & THE SELF ABUSERS Dead Vandals (11/77) 7. BEE BEE CEE You Gotta Know Girl (11/77) 8. SUBS Gimme Your Heart (2/78) 9. SKIDS Reasons (No Bad NB 1, 4/78) 10. FINGERPRINTZ Dancing With Myself (1/79)  11. THE ZIPS Take Me Down (4/79) 12. ANOTHER PRETTY FACE All The Boys Love Carrie (5/79)  13. VISITORS Electric Heat (5/79) 14. JOLT See Saw (6/79) 15. SIMPLE MINDS Chelsea Girl (6/79) 16. SHAKE Culture Shock (7/79) 17. HEADBOYS The Shape Of Things To Come (7/79) 18. FIRE EXIT Time Wall (8/79) 19. FREEZE Paranoia (9/79) 20. FAKES Sylvia Clarke (9/79) 21. TPI She’s Too Clever For Me (10/79) 22. FUN 4 Singing In The Showers (11/79) 23. FLOWERS Confessions (12/79) 24. TV21 Playing With Fire (4/80) 25. ALEX FERGUSSON Stay With Me Tonight (1980) 1. THE REZILL

Edinburgh Rocks – The Capital's Music Scene in the 1950s and Early 1960s

Edinburgh has always been a vintage city. Yet, for youngsters growing up in the shadow of World War Two as well as a pervading air of tight-lipped Calvinism, they were dreich times indeed. The founding of the Edinburgh International Festival in 1947 and the subsequent Fringe it spawned may have livened up the city for a couple of weeks in August as long as you were fans of theatre, opera and classical music, but the pubs still shut early, and on Sundays weren't open at all. But Edinburgh too has always had a flipside beyond such official channels, and, in a twitch-hipped expression of the sort of cultural duality Robert Louis Stevenson recognised in his novel, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, a vibrant dance-hall scene grew up across the city. Audiences flocked to emporiums such as the Cavendish in Tollcross, the Eldorado in Leith, The Plaza in Morningside and, most glamorous of all due to its revolving stage, the Palais in Fountainbridge. Here the likes of Joe Loss and Ted Heath broug