Claude Cahun / Sue Tompkins
Female artists bridge last two centuries in contrasting but complementary shows
Two female artists bridge the last two centuries in these contrasting but complementary shows. Cahun’s all-angles black and white photographs on the top floor of the gallery captures the artist’s striking singularity via a series of portraits that look like an early 20th century pre-punk template for equally studied images by Patti Smith.
Downstairs, meanwhile, ex-Life Without Buildings chanteuse Tompkins expands her adventures with text-based pieces by utilising safety pins and other accoutrements into her palette. With her text pieces becoming increasingly minimal on paper at least, Tompkins performed her opus ‘Hallo Welcome To Keith Street’ in full at the show’s opening.
Reading from a thick swadge of paper scrappily bound in a folder, Tompkins gave a gleeful rendition of what sounds like a very personal set of free-associations, bippetty-boppitying about in front of the gallery’s lift over the piece’s full 40-minute duration. With Tompkins becoming an increasingly major figure in contemporary art, it’s refreshing to see such a force of nature in full throes of inspired rapture.
Inverleith House, Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh until Sun 17 Apr