Skip to main content

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

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Maids

Dundee Rep

Two sisters sit in glass cases either side of the stage at the start of Eve Jamieson's production of Jean Genet's nasty little study of warped aspiration and abuse of power. Bathed in red light, the women look like artefacts in some cheap thrill waxworks horror-show, or else exhibits in a human zoo. Either way, they are both trapped, immortalised in a freak-show possibly of their own making.

Once the sisters come to life and drape themselves in the sumptuous bedroom of their absent mistress, they raid her bulging wardrobe to try on otherwise untouchable glad-rags and jewellery. As they do, the grotesque parody of the high-life they aspire to turns uglier by the second. When the Mistress returns, as played with daring abandon by Emily Winter as a glamour-chasing narcissist who gets her kicks from drooling over the criminal classes, you can't really blame the sisters for their fantasy of killing her.

Slabs of sound slice the air to punctuate each scene of Mart…

Nomanslanding

Tramway, Glasgow until July 2nd
Four stars

In the dead of night, the audience are split in two and led under-cover into lamp-lit tented structures. Inside, what look like peasant women on the run lead us down a ramp and into a large circular pod. It feels part cathedral, part space-ship, and to come blinking into the light of such a fantastical structure after stumbling in the dark disorientates and overwhelms. Sat around the pod as if awaiting prayers to begin, we watch as performers Nerea Bello and Judith Williams incant mournfully on either side of the room. Their keening chorales embark on a voyage of their own, twisting around each other by way of the international language of singing. As if in sympathy, the walls wail and whisper, before starting to move as those on either side of the pod are left stranded, a gulf between them.

This international co-commission between Glasgow Life and the Merchant City Festival, Sydney Harbour Foreshaw Authority in Australia and Urbane Kienste …

Kraftwerk

Usher Hall, Edinburgh
Four stars

A flying saucer orbits over Edinburgh Castle before landing outside the Usher Hall. That's the story anyway according to the animated visuals for this 3D extravaganza from the original electronic boy band. Whether the alien craft is responsible for depositing the over-excited stage invader who briefly manages to jump aboard mid-set isn't on record. The four men of a certain age lined up hunched over fairy-lit consoles and sporting LED laced Lycra outfits as they pump out their hugely influential back-catalogue of retro-futuristic electro-pop remain oblivious.

There is nevertheless a sublime display of humanity on display. The quartet of Ralf Hutter, Henning Schmitz, Fritz Hilpert and Falk Grieffenhagen lend a surprising warmth to compositions given fresh pulse by the state of art visual display. While the band stand stock still at what appears to be a set of old-school keyboards, sound and vision are in perpetual motion. This is the case whethe…