Joep Van Liefland (3 stars)

Spartan, dilapidated installation imitates decaying disused video shop

Joep Van Liefland

Joep Van Liefland’s Video Palace #34 is a spartan, dilapidated and easily missed installation. The work hides the entire gallery space under a mimicry of a disused video rental store; the gallery walls are roughly covered with half torn-up wallpaper and empty shelving units have seemingly faded signs of categories long gone. The street-facing window has also been transformed, holding ads selling items of recently outdated technologies, VHS, CRT televisions – even the gallery sign has been wrapped in black bin liner.

The show is entirely convincing in its imitation of the surrounding decay, the results of declining commerce and the relentless march of technology. Liefland draws convincing parallels between the disuse of recent media types and the physical spaces that relied on them, a process he describes as media entropy.

Liefland’s mimesis is a meticulously arranged theatre, the placing of each broken wall-bracket considered, which makes you wonder why the intervention of the artist’s hand is important in this: why not invite us to consider a real disused video shop? The content, after all, would be almost identical.

The Duchy Gallery, Glasgow, until Sat 22 Dec

Joep van Liefland: Video Palace No 34 – Le discours des medias II

First UK solo show by Dutch artist interested in video, especially in the less prestigious kinds of mass-produced videos: everything from porn to instructional videos, travelogues and home movies.


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