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Katinka Bock – Radio Piombino

The Common Guild until July 8th

Summertime, and the fish aren’t jumping, but seem to be walking on land in Katinka Bock’s industrial-domestic intervention. The Paris-based German artist’s first UK show of sculptural works finds her raw materials dragged indoors after seemingly been left out in the rain to rust. One of several solid bronze flat-fish interspersed throughout looks more like a weather-beaten rat. If you enjoy imagining dystopia, it might well be the sort of mutant that swam to earth from polluted inner-city river-scapes and crawled through rubbish dumps, wheezing its way on to terra firma in a twisted, post-industrial take on evolution.

Bock’s show is named after the real life radio station serving the Tuscan town of Piombino, a port which served as a naval base, but has more latterly been used to carry freight as well as a marina. Almost certainly not twinned with Glasgow, Bock nevertheless uses the city’s history as a port for her show, as well as the Common Guild’s past as a trendy west end des-res with a view to die for. In this way, Bock has docked in a harbour where ship-building and the grounded hulks that go with it are rendered all but obsolete, as creatures who once gathered there now wander the land on the edge of extinction—or else stay indoors.

This may be why pebbledash is laid out on the floor of the hallway, and why pipes are run through walls upstairs. It’s as if the house is in the midst of some ongoing Sisyphean conversion, made an attractive prospect by the way the light falls onto copper, bronze and steel at a particular time of day or night, plugged in to history, but forever changing, always out of reach.

It’s telling that Bock’s only other UK project to date was on a show with Siobhan Davies Dance in London performed in 2017. The central construction in the upstairs gallery—in which pieces of ceramic tubing are hung by copper pipes over distressed tiles where one of the ratty walking fishes is placed— resembles a stage set. The narrative contained within it is one of times and places in motion, of houses and cities, and of ports and storms where things have learnt to walk that ought to crawl.

MAP, May 2018


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