Never Still (3 stars)

CCA, Glasgow, Fri 16 Feb


Never Still marked the first public art event sponsored by Map magazine, and brought together work by a host of respected international artists who primarily use film (video or digital) as their medium. The event highlighted some of the problems that can occur when changing the preferred site of reception for an ‘art object’, in this case the gallery, turning films by artists into ‘art films’ by showing them in a cinema. It’s a difficult path to travel, but one that Rosalind Nashishibi, Daria Martin, Mark Neville, Torsten Lauschmann, Aida Builova, Enid Baxter Blader, Karen Cytter and Luke Fowler hoped to negotiate.

Visitors to Scottish galleries will be familiar with most of these artists, with at least five names exhibiting in either Glasgow or Edinburgh in the last year or so (in Mary Mary, Doggerfisher, Tramway and the CCA itself), so the screening successfully acted as an overview of recent, critically acclaimed work. But some of the shorts didn’t manage to convince, working with a sophomoric and confessional approach that seemed uncomfortably out of place alongside work that was theoretically bullet proof, witty and profound. Blader and Cytter’s films did not relate to the questions raised in the other work, and suffered from their proximity.

Nashishibi’s ‘Eyeballing’, Martin’s ‘Man and Mask’, and Lauschamann’s ‘The Mathematician’ managed to be provocative through creating insightful narratives that refused to do exactly what the cinema viewer would want, but gave us what the gallery goer requires: art over entertainment.

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