Wendelien van Oldenborgh: Beauty And The Right To The Ugly (4 stars)

Film installation at Edinburgh's Collective Gallery looks at community-oriented architecture

Wendelien van Oldenborgh: Beauty And The Right To The Ugly

Credit: Wendelien van Oldenborgh

This new Collective Gallery in the old City Observatory atop Calton Hill might inspire comparisons between a Georgian architecture-saturated panorama outside and the drum-like brick interior’s intimacy. Intentionally or not, this film piece by Dutch artist van Oldenborgh gives some release to that sensation. The work condenses three separate film pieces on the same subject – Eindhoven’s Het Karregat, an open-plan public community centre designed by the architect Frank van Klingeren – in a manner which works as an installation as much as a film document.

Standing within an arrangement of three angled screens, the viewer is taken through one film after another, taking roughly an hour to experience all three (‘Open architecture for an Open Society / the government embarks on experiments’, ‘Experiments don’t need to succeed, they just need to exist’ and ‘Normalisation makes everything safe again’).

They draw the senses through observed lives of its inhabitants and the space’s architecture. An unhurried but absorbing meditation on public-facing creative thinking and co-operative working in flawed action, it’s not so much political as existing within politics. The films present a potential alternative to prescribed institutional homogeneity.

Collective Gallery, Edinburgh, until Sun 29 Mar.

Wendelien van Oldenborgh: Beauty and the Right to the Ugly

Dutch artist who uses the format of a public film shoot to explore social relations. Featuring her film Beauty and the Right to the Ugly, which in turn borrows its title from the 1982 exhibition The Beautiful and the Right to be Ugly by Italian-Brazilian artist Lina Bo Bardi.