Monday, 6 February 2017

Mark Wallinger - Mark Wallinger Mark

Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh/Dundee Contemporary Arts,
March 4-June 4

Making your mark is everything if you're an artist, whichever side you're coming from. This is evident in this expansive body of largely recent work by Mark Wallinger, which runs parallel in galleries across two separate cities. Based largely around the sixty-six works that make up Wallinger's id Paintings, the twin shows focus on a fascination with symmetry that saw him pursue a more instinctive and personalised line of inquiry than his more overtly politically driven works. That period arguably peaked with Wallinger's 2007 Turner Prize winner, State Britain, a recreation of Brian Haw's tented anti Iraq protest outside Westminster. That the twice his height size paintings that resulted are literally hand-made speak volumes about where Wallinger is coming from today.

“The id Paintings grew out of a series of works I call self-portraits,” Wallinger says, referring to the group of paintings consisting of various iterations of the letter 'I'. Wallinger found himself painting works by hand, alternating between left and right. “It was one of those rare moments when the penny dropped and something metamorphosised in a way where I could get a degree of symmetry. It was a way of creating in the moment in a way where every mark had its mirror image.”

Wallinger mentions Rorschach, psycho-analysis and Freud in an ongoing pursuit of the naked I he is clearly relishing.

“It has been rather pleasant,” he says. “It's nice to get to this age and still be able to feel this way.”


The List, January 2017

ends

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