Heather Phillipson – sub-fusc love-feast (4 stars)

Playful and ambitious collection of works that remix and reimagine the natural world

Heather Phillipson – sub-fusc love-feast

Picture: Heather Phillipson

Playing God appears to come natural to Heather Phillipson as the London-born poet, performer, sculptor and video artist gets back to nature by way of a jungle full of photographic cut-out dioramas and big-screen video cut-ups that suggests that the so-called natural world is not so much being tamed as remixed and reimagined.

Shown as part of the DCA's Discovery Film Festival, Phillipson's series of multi-dimensional configurations move from Eden to Heaven, Hell and other promised lands on earth as assorted fruits of the original sin are blown up to juicily epic proportions. Wildlife, on the other hand, look shrunken and out of proportion, while upside-down human limbs offer something else to chew on as giraffes and pink flamingoes graze. On the flipside of what are in fact a set of artfully arranged wooden flats, the same swirly day-glo writing that provides animated captions to the films point up the film-set style fakery of such arrangements beneath the surface.

On film, cows chew the cud, pants are pulled down and toes are potentially trodden on as Phillipson's spoken-word accompaniment attempts to get back to a guilt-free garden where touching displays are actively and erotically encouraged beyond any jungle warnings once sent out by the likes of Ray Bradbury's chillingly prophetic short story about the potentially deadly downside of virtual culture, ‘The Veldt’. Rather, Phillipson offers a playful and at times downright saucy evocation of a world of creature comforts that looks like it took considerably more than the ecclesiastical standard six days to set up, seventh day rest for the wicked notwithstanding.

Dundee Contemporary Arts until Sun 9 Nov.

Heather Phillipson: sub-fusc love feast

New work from the London-based artist and poet, who uses installations, prerecorded text, music and live interaction to make surreal and stimulating environments.


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