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I/Not I – Christian Boltanski, Kommissar Hjuler and Mama Baer with Jonathan Meese, Bobby Sayers, Amy Leigh Bird

Lust and the Apple, Temple until December 8th
Four stars

The Midlothian former school that houses one of the most adventurous contemporary art-spaces in the country has been quiet of late due to problems with damp. A reconstituted Lust and the Apple is more than worth a pilgrimage to see new work by a cross-generational quartet of international artists spread across the premises in ways that employ the centre's unique environment.

In the drive-way, recent Glasgow School of Art graduate Amy Leigh Bird's Topophilia, An Archeology puts locally sourced natural detritus in vitrines full of water marked Kelvin (2016) and Temple (2017). Inside, a customised boiler-suit daubed with gold-painted text becomes the work-clothes of Rotterdam based Bobby Sayers, whose performance-based So What Do You Do? attempts to subvert the daily grind with a mixture of work, rest and play. Out in the garden, Square Metres is an ever expanding carpet of twelve inch vinyl records laid down by German noise duo Kommissar Hjuler and Mama Baer, who invite viewers to walk all over their collaborations with contemporary Jonathan Meese.

Back indoors, the show's centrepiece is I/Not I, a room devoted to veteran French iconoclast Christian Boltanski. Alongside works drawn from Lust and the Apple's associate company Heart Fine Art's collection, at one end of the room, Homage A Samuel Beckett is a digital enlargement of a new work by Boltanski covering the entire wall. Inspired by Samuel Beckett's play, Not I, in which only a mouth is seen in spotlight, Boltanski puts his own lips in the picture in close-up. The image recalls the opening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show as much as Beckett, and, while all about it is rotting, from the natural world to bodies sentenced to hard labour, Boltanski's image looks like a kiss of life.

The List, September 2017

ends

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