Bobby Niven: Hermit’s Castle, Chez Galip (4 stars)

Bobby Niven: Hermit’s Castle, Chez Galip

Glasgow-based artist's film diptych with pitch perfect cinematic aesthetic

Film diptych Hermit’s Castle and Chez Galip brings together two geologically extreme landscapes in which two characters, an architect in Scotland and a potter in Turkey, have erected idiosyncratic structures.

Hermit’s Castle journeys to cold, austere cliffs in the north of Scotland to explore, in the gusting sleet, the exposed outcrop at Achmelvich, where David Scott built a small concrete castle in 1955. The camera circumnavigates the structure, penetrates its claustrophobic interior and zooms out to diminish its grandeur leaving it fragile atop the tall cliff face as foamy waves break against its escarpment. The accompanying sound reverberates in hermetic solitude.

In an equally stark landscape, here with welcoming arid warmth, Chez Galip is a study of a cave in the central Turkish village if Avanos, Cappadocia, famous for its fairy chimneys and earthenware pottery. Fifth generation potter Galip Körükçü, who throws clay with deft ease – mesmerising, almost erotically – is the founder of the visceral hair museum which houses a collection of 16,000 hair clippings obtained from women who visited his workshop. Without a word, the film captures the charisma of our protagonist and instills a sense of the milieu complete with humorous moments where the camera rests on his own thinning head of wild hair.

Glasgow-based artist Bobby Niven uses the artisan offerings of these two inventors to interrogate the psychological motivations behind the reshaping of their unique landscapes. The result is a comparative corporeal study of vertiginous indulgence with a pitch perfect cinematic aesthetic.

Sierra Metro, Edinburgh, until Sun 12 Dec

Bobby Niven

  • 4 stars

Two experimental films documenting attempts to build absurd sculptures in different landscapes

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