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Thomas Houseago – The Beat of the Show

Inverleith House, Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh until July 3rd 2011
4 stars
The relationship between the title of the first museum-based show by
Leeds-born sculptor Houseago and the work itself may not be immediately
apparent. It's taken from 'Transmission', the urgent post-punk anthem
released in 1979 by Joy Division, who implored listeners to 'Dance,
dance, dance to the radio'. Wander through the sepulchral marble-white
hemp, iron and wood structures possessing Inverleith's ground
floor, however, and something monumental grabs hold. It's as if the
imposing dome at the centre of a room littered with sawn-off remnants
of trees or the bulbous giant leg in the next are paying tribute to the
aftermath of some Ballardian dystopia, marking time until whatever
happens next.

The masks, the walk-through wooden gate and the giant fox-head in the
basement further suggest a society getting back to basics. Either that
or totems of some primitive cult warding off interlopers as thry stand
outside the house in preparation for Houseago's forthcoming Edinburgh
Art Festival show in an imposingly stately fashion.

The List, June 2011

ends

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