Unreliable Witness (4 stars)

Unreliable Witness

Tramway, Glasgow, until Sun 7 Dec


Who says the world isn’t flat? Not, one suspects, any of the six artists playing with personas, pseudo-science, imagined histories and parallel universes in a show that creates a set of brand new myths made in their own (self) image. The first thing you see is a series of billboard-sized hoardings featuring a publicity still of 1990s Glasgow band AC Acoustics. In real life noted for a low-key and lo-fi presence on Glasgow’s indie scene, the monumental scale of Michael Fullarton’s posters suggests all-consuming world-domination on a monumental scale. Two smaller paintings tucked to the side accentuate the effect.

Peter Friedl’s ‘Liberty City’ loops the sort of blurred vérité sensationalism seen on late-night true crime reality TV shows. As rioters kick a cop senseless, you’re willing whoever’s filming to intervene. The realisation that it’s a reconstruction of actual riots doesn’t make you feel any less uneasy. Beside it, Gabriella Vanga’s ‘George’ offers clues to an imaginary boyfriend with an identikit jigsaw that bestows even more intrigue on an already secret identity. On a screen at the other end of the room, Andrea Fraser gives her ‘Official Welcome’ lecture, a wryly insistent 30-minute video subversion of art institution politesse, in which she plays all the parts. On the walls opposite, stills from an unedited DVD set in a hotel room suggests a more intimate exchange of consensual creative acts.

Susan Hiller’s hand-crafted boxes in ‘From The Freud Museum’ contain meticulously arranged displays of ornamental cows, while individually wrapped bags of soil from each of Ireland’s six counties suggest arcane preciousness. Finally, Nedko Solakov’s installation, ‘The Truth (The Earth Is Plane, The World Is Flat)’ carves out an elaborately justified piece of conspiracy theory crankery.

Such a world turned upside-down mix-up is somehow inkeeping with the recent vogue for fantasy-wish-fulfilment reconstructions. The fact that all the works here are isolated from each other suggests that if these very special worlds collided, the fall-out could result in something even more seismically unreal. A notion, of course, that isn’t scientifically proven in any way, shape or form.

Unreliable Witness

  • 4 stars

A look at the art of story writing with work by Andrea Fraser, Peter Frield, Michael Fullerton, Susan Hiller, Nedko Solakov and Gabriela Vanga.

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