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Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh until May 4
Four stars

Whatever state we’re in, the international language of art continues to break down international walls. This of-the-moment group show brings together twelve artists to map out a world of possibilities that go beyond delusions of empire to chart the means of production in motion as natural resources are colonised to keep the economy afloat.

Lonnie van Brummelen and Siebren de Haan’s Monument of Sugar (2007) is a striking sleight of hand which places blocks of sugar beneath a 67-minute film charting a journey that subverted trade barriers. Two other pieces by the duo, Monument to Another Man’s Fatherland (2008-2009) and Episode of the Sea (2014) focus respectively on Turkish migrants hoping to move to Germany and the Urk fishing community in the Netherlands.

Mona Vatamanu and Florin Tudor’s Le monde et les choses (2014) is a map of commodities instead of countries, hung opposite Amelia Pica’s Joy in Paperwork (2016), 402 images made from passport-style stamps. Rosella Biscotti’s The Journey (2016) charts the epic consequences of dropping an object into the sea.

Ghosts of very real divides haunt Between (Where the Roads Between Derry and Donegal Cross the Border) (2019), Willie Doherty’s haunting study of all points between County Donegal and Derry where roads cross the border separating the Republic and Northern Ireland. In Black Flag (2015), Santiago Sierra turns the world upside down through images of anarchist flags planted at the North and South Poles to suggest a new republic.

Khvay Samnang’s Preah Kunlong (The Way of the Spirit) (2017) films tribal rituals in Cambodia, Ruth E Lyons’ Salarium (230 million BCE-ongoing) is a series of salt bowls that mine ancient resources, while Lara Almarcegui’s Mineral Rights (Tveitvsngen) (2015) is a slideshow that cuts to the core of the land beneath us.

In Troika Fiscal Disobedience Consultancy (2016/2019), Núria Güell sets up a pseudo corporate DIY guide to civil disobedience where the clocks on the wall for different countries all tell the same time. That time is now. 

The List, April 2019



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