Group show: Re-make/Re-model
- Alexander Kennedy
- 13 December 2007
Contemporary art curators and gallery owners no longer merely show work because it’s good but because it somehow justifies itself through weighty themes and explication. This is art’s loss. The exhibition of work by Linder, Sophie MacPherson, Babette Mangolte, Martin Soto Climent and Jimmy Robert at Sorcha Dallas – all very interesting on its own – suffers from the enforced curatorial logic pinning it all down.
Linder’s collages are occasionally interesting, featuring the faces of women obscured by fleshy roses, reducing their sexuality to the level of clichéd metaphor. In ‘Charming Maid’, an appropriated and augmented LP cover featuring Karen Carpenter is cut open. A bouquet of roses can be seen in her slashed, cadaverous body, blossoming like Les Fleurs du mal. The female body is also present in the sculptures by Climent, although this time represented only by the things that signify its absence. In ‘Parachute’ the body becomes a red plastic bag and a pair of ugly white court shoes hung on the wall. The reduction of the female form to a collection of objects could be viewed as a kind of mock misogyny. In ‘Detained Chain’, for instance, the female torso becomes a pair of chartreuse knickers on two beer bottles suggesting that the body is not only in ruins, it has become detritus.
The works on show in various ways relate to the idea of performance or the performative – two distinct terms that are conflated and confused by artists and art writers alike. What is exhibited are works that appear to be quickly made and realised, or in some way relate to performance art, its documentation and the debris left behind after the event.
It’s a joy to see Trisha Brown dance in Mangolte’s ‘Water Motor’, a film shown at a regular speed and then slowed down, but this imposition adds very little to Brown’s original work. The only thematic relationship between this film piece and MacPherson’s ‘White Screen’ is that both could be said to invoke a sense of theatricality and artifice, of life before and after the film fades to black. (Alexander Kennedy)
Sorcha Dallas, Glasgow, until Sat 26 Jan