Marc Camille Chaimowicz (4 stars)

Journey of Parisian artist from the punk performance early work to lyrical, introspective and political.

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Marc Camille Chaimowicz

Echoing the words of his hero Gustave Flaubert, Marc Camille Chaimowicz’s first solo exhibition in Scotland is testimony to the notion that ‘Art requires neither complaisance nor politeness; only faith and freedom.’

Parisian Chaimowicz’s art shares the schizophrenic trajectory of that of his late British contemporaries Derek Jarman and Jo Spence, the punk performance work of his early 1970s work having given way to something more lyrical, introspective and political.

On the ground floor, innocuous selections of painted boards look like the discarded tests of an average textiles student. But this is less a show than a journey into context. Things take shape through an anti-chamber imbued by references to Proust’s queerest book The Cities of the Plain, and then it’s time to bask in the afterglow of Flaubert, Genet and Baudrillard with his engagingly amateurish 1978 installation Here and There.

In the basement, things are contextualised. Robert Thornton’s The Temple of Flora plates form a basis for his progression towards etching and textiles. A vitrine of metal paint coloured roots confirms Chaimowicz’ obsession with the natural form.

Up two floors and it all makes sense. The tufted rug the artist realised with the Dovecot is beautiful. The incidental dressing tables, scattered with the remnants of hedonism, vanity and hero worship, the use of Edouard Vuillard’s stunning 1910 painting La Chambre Rose to evoke this place and time in the artist’s evolution then a return to trashy aesthetic of decorated screen divides and abandoned Sobranie Cocktail cigarettes. It’s all just decadence discarded in the winter sun.

Inverleith House, Edinburgh until Sun 6 Feb

Marc Camille Chaimowicz

  • 4 stars

The first UK exhibition since 2002 of works by Marc Camille Chaimowicz, one of today's most influential visual artists.

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