Planting the Tele

Mary Mary, Glasgow, from Sat 25 Nov-Sat 13 January 2007


Glasgow has seen very little of Hayley Tompkins of late, but she has returned in a curatorial capacity in Planting the Tele at Mary Mary Gallery, bringing together new work by seven artists: Anne-Marie Copestake and Karla Black, both from the UK, Ernst Caramelle from Austria, Joachim Koester (pictured) from Denmark, Helen Mirra from the US, and Bojan Sarcevic from France. Some of the names will be very familiar, while others, exhibiting for the first time in Glasgow, will soon become so. The exhibition will also present reprinted documents, editions and films by a further four international artists, with a reading area for the visitor to peruse some of their texts. Rivette’s film Celine and Julie Go Boating (1974) will also be playing, intentionally recreating the familiar multi-media atmosphere that we are bombarded with in our ‘everyday’ life.

This could be a very difficult exhibition to pull together, with too many ideas, aesthetics, voices, and media vying for the viewer’s attention. But, like most of the exhibitions that gallerist Hannah Robinson has tackled in this space, we should expect to see work of the highest quality, with Tompkins’ selective and keen artistic eye drawing all of these disparate elements together with ease. Tompkins hopes that the mass of information will mirror our domestic setting, where one frequently reads with the telly on in the background, pictures on the wall and other visual stimuli attempting to solicit our attention. In order to further this homely feeling, she will fill the gallery with pot plants.

But this is not a ‘no-brainer’ installation relying on a few puns and props. The exhibition’s main thematic is the exploration of the philosophy of memory, ‘the recall, or revisit’, as the curator puts it, the idea that the distant and the near are pulled together by the reflecting subject (the reflecting subject in this situation being Tompkins herself as curator, who threads her own personal narrative, reverie and memories through the collected works). Whether the viewer, who temporarily stands in this exulted position, will manage to tap into these resonances, remains to be seen.

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