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Trying for a Sculpture - Bruce McLean, Natalie Doyle, Abi Lewis, David Bellingham

Lust and the Apple, Temple, near Gorebridge until February 15th
Four stars

Bruce McLean may have been absent from the opening of this group show named after one of his wry works, but his playful spirit permeated throughout Lust and the Apple's former school-house. Outside, the soundtrack to two of McLean's three films on show could be heard, bleeding through the walls like an end of term disco. En route, you needed to navigate Tentilla, a drive-way construction and one of a menagerie of imagined creatures by Abi Lewis. Also on show are an array of heads on sticks in the garden called Critters, a pair of mop-headed dogs on wheels and a snake-lined altar.

Beaming down from the outside wall is THIS COLOUR IN THE PLACE OF ANOTHER, the first of a proposed series of four neon pieces by David Bellingham. Indoors, another text-based work, THINGS ARE NOT LIKE OTHER THINGS THEY JUST ARE OTHER THINGS (BLACKBOARD) is an equally gnomic lesson. In the bath-room, Natalie Doyle's performance, SCEADU, saw her incanting intimations of mortality as light and shade projections were mapped out across her body.

As for McLean, in I Want My Crown (2013) he shimmies on camera to Kevin Coyne’s song of the same name beneath a paper crown on a shelf above, looking for all the world like a pocket-size Pa' Ubu. fools rush in and make the new sculptures (5 pieces) is the oldest film on show. In it, McLean casts himself as an absurdist music hall turn attempting to arrange pieces of wood on a wall, only for them to repeatedly come crashing down. In Chicken Wing, commissioned this year by the Cooper Gallery, Dundee, McLean resembles a solitary mod in a Glasgow dance hall throwing shapes to another jaunty blues by Coyne. The song's lyrics are an accidental summation of everything McLean is about, doing his thing, dancing on regardless.

The List, January 2018

ends

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