Ingela Ihrman: We Thrive
- David Pollock
- 21 March 2018
Exhibition of video work from the Swedish artist
Upon first sight, it's the apparent silliness of Swedish artist Ingela Ihrman's work which makes the clearest impression. The lower floor of the Cooper Gallery is given over to her video piece 'The Toad (Obstacle Race)', in which the artist, dressed in a realistic toad costume, attempts to hop haplessly around a gymnasium assault course; the stairwell exhibits the video work 'When the Ice Sheet Retreated from the Nordic Countries, the Norway Spruce Came Wandering in from the North', in which she dresses as the tree of the title and stumbles around a path dropping seeds; upstairs 'The Giant Water Lily Victoria Amazonica BLOOMS' sees her clumsily bursting open the petals of her flower suit for a giggling gallery audience.
There's a comedic sense to her video work which is at odds with the somewhat sinister air around her sculptural pieces; a tangle of hanging textile intestines, for example, or the giant, very realistic paper hogweed suspended in the centre of the gallery, or the human-sized otter suit with pups suckling on it which Ihrman used in her opening performance. Throughout all of these pieces, however, the binding element is the tension between the natural world and the way its mechanical perfection appears hapless and second-rate when humans appear to recreate it. Depending on how full your glass is, there's either a hopefulness or a fatalism at the heart of her practice – a realisation that human mastery and control of nature isn't as easy as it might appear.
Cooper Gallery, Dundee, until Fri 13 Apr.