New Work Scotland Project 2008: Lila de Magalhaes
Collective Gallery, Edinburgh, Sat 27 Sep-Sat 20 Dec
Over the last nine years, autumn at the Collective has heralded an annual showcase for artists making their solo-show debuts under the wing of the gallery’s New Work Scotland Project. The first of three shows this year is by Lila de Magalhaes, whose performance-based video installations captured the imaginations of a judging panel, led by the Collective’s Kirsten Body, who helped sift through more than 200 applications.
‘Lila says she’s about tapping into people’s day-to-day playfulness,’ says Body. ‘Quite often there’s a domestic or office setting in her work, but there’s usually something unsettling and strange going on as well. There’s a certain crudeness in what Lila does. Her works are usually done with a hand-held camera and are full of jump-cuts. But it’s a deliberate strategy, and a lot of it is very subtle.’
To illustrate the quirks of De Magalhaes’ work, Body cites a work called ‘Rat,’ in which a woman dressed up as a tinfoil-clad rodent sits in a bath. In another, a woman holds court in an armchair wearing an upside-down lampshade on her head. De Magalhaes is currently making new work for her show in residence at London’s Studio Voltaire, which has also come on board with NWSP.
In the following two NWSP shows, Alex Dordoy will explore issues of masculinity via images of a Wild West chuck wagon, while a joint work by Alex Gross and Sandy Smith will take its impulse from an extended research visit to Texas and Utah. A publication will accompany shows with texts by Kelly Connor. This initiative is now a crucial component of NSWP, which has a strong record of picking up on emerging artists, including Katy Dove, Craig Coulthart and Neil Clements, who go on to even greater things. The award too is something of an accidental benchmark for current trends.
‘We’re always looking for some kind of individuality,’ says Body, ‘and work that may not immediately get supported elsewhere. In that way, NWSP is an important snap-shot of what’s going on now.’