Bronwen Sleigh: Construct
An architecture-based show that aims to capture a futuristic purity that goes beyond functionality
At first glance, this body of 38 architecture-based prints and 3D constructions looks like blueprints for some Russian Constructivist science-fiction futurescape, built for a Tarkovsky film by way of a Ladybird book. Look closer beyond the sleekly-angled swish of the lines, and you'll see that these visions of the future were built some time ago, be it as airports, stadiums or other epically proportioned hubs of congregation, comings or goings as befits any international metropolis brimming with ambition.
There's a utopian urgency at play here, in images of locales ranging from Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris to Meadowbank Stadium and beyond, that look like nothing on earth. With everything seemingly in motion amidst a fanfare of metallic greens and bloodrush reds, there's a wide-eyed sense of wonder in the stranger's gaze of Bronwen Sleigh that suggests she too might have come from another planet. There's something heroic in the wooden and wire constructions dotted about the gallery like some undiscovered stratosphere, implying a voyage of discovery at every turn.
One imagines the theme-tune fanfares and sweeping strings of Whicker's World being piped through these re-imagined monuments as travellers pass through borders. Either that, or the des-res idyll of 'Home is Heavenly Springs,' the space-age installation brought to Princes Street Gardens by art/pop conceptualists Sudden Sway a quarter of a century ago.
While the practical day-to-day reality of these subjects - with all their failures, design faults and terminal obsolescence - will never match her unsullied visions, Sleigh is in one sense capturing a purity of an imagined future that went beyond mere functionality. In this sense, Construct is a form of legitimised nostalgia, both for a past intent on conquering worlds, and for an age yet to come.
Edinburgh Printmakers, until Sat 20 Jul