Group Show: Hot Rock (3 stars)

Transmission Gallery, Glasgow, until Sat 24 Feb


Seven international artists question the cultural value of the very recent past and an always uncertain future in Hot Rock at the Transmission. The show brings together work by Monika Grzymala, Andreas Hofer, Brian Jungen, Robert Longo, Dorit Margreiter, Scott Myles and Rosha Yaghmai, in an exhibition that veers towards the bleak. This is not a criticism of the quality of the work, but a nod to the dark psychic cloud that hovers over the show.

If uncertainty can be characterised as ‘greyness’, neither black nor white, then most of the work takes this anti-colour symbolism to heart. The world and history become a flat Beckettian stage set, with useless objects cluttering up the place. Myles’ ‘On Display and Disguise’ (bronze, steal, wood, paint) plays with material and our perception of it, like an analytic cubist collage that has been broken down into its constituent parts. Grzymala’s ‘Swoosh’ (black and white paper tape) hugs the wall at the window and door, presenting life outside as a barren skyscape, a frame from a graphic novel bearing no traces of signification.

There is also an acknowledgment of the edginess and daily threat of violence and destruction in some of the work, with Jungen’s carved baseball bats or ‘Talking Sticks’ balanced against the wall, waiting to be wielded and ‘do the talking’ when words fail, and a pop-poster rendition of a nuclear mushroom by Margreiter, adding a mock-shock and slightly ironic edge to the show, a comic kick up the backside that still hurts.

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