Zoe Beloff: A History of Dreams Remains to be Written (5 stars)

Zoe Beloff: A History of Dreams Remains to be Written

Photo: Chris Park (c) Talbot Rice Gallery

Two-part mixed media show examining Coney Island's psychogeography and Occupy Wall Street

Libido and revolution are not so strange bedfellows in New York-based Edinburgh expat Beloff’s first solo show in Scotland, in which imaginary worlds collide in two complementary takes on utopia. In ‘Dreamland’, Beloff mines the archive of the Coney Island Psychoanalytic Society and Its Circle, reimagining its founder Albert Grass’ extravagant vision of a Freud-inspired theme-park for the mind that the Brooklyn-based fun palace could have become if its own pleasure principle had been unleashed. Beyond comic books and assorted ephemera, films of the Society’s members’ dreams are shown, while a model of Grass’ proposed design incorporating a giant figure of a young girl as Libido is at its centre.

Upstairs, ‘The Days of the Commune’ finds Beloff putting Brecht’s 1948 play about the Paris Commune on the streets and in the moment via a series of filmed stagings involving a non-professional public that included supporters of the Wall Street Occupy movement. Both sections are glorious flipsides of a dream-state Shangri-la that both reclaims hidden histories and looks to brighter futures in what really is another world.

Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh, until Sat 16 Feb.

Zoe Beloff

First solo show in Scotland by Scottish-born artist who moved to the USA in 1980. The Days of the Commune draws links between the Paris Commune and the Occupy Wall Street movement, whereas Dreamland commemorates the centennial of Freud's visit to Coney Island.

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