Art exhibition: Now
Modern art’s ability to provoke, stimulate or even offend will always divide opinion and a new programme at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh may do just that.
NOW, a series of six exhibitions in Modern One, might kindly be regarded as ‘eclectic’. The installations range from scenes of suffrage to a collection of shopping lists.
Adeline Amar, a spokesman for the gallery, unveiled the works ahead of the weekend opening.
“We will be refreshing the programme twice a year over the next three years. There is some really interesting work here,” she said.
Glasgow based Nathan Coley focusses his pieces on a sense of journey and place. They are large scale and room-sized. The 2007 Turner Prize nominee’s pieces on display include a re-interpretation of St Paul’s Cathedral, Paul (2015) and The Lamp of Sacrifice, 286 Places of Worship, Edinburgh 2004.
The latter been restored by the artist, after being water damaged while on loan in 2015. It seems startlingly simple in its construction and comprises 286 cardboard replicas of every building listed in the Yellow pages as a place of worship in Edinburgh.
Closer inspection reveals the intricacy in interpreting the individual features of each in this everyday medium. It is a show stopper.
Ms Amar adds: “We find that sometimes things click for no reason at all and you could spend hours in the same room.”
One room that didn’t click at all with this reviewer was the installation by Brazilian artist Rivane Neuenschwander, Harvest (2013-14) – a room sized display of discarded shopping lists, picked up from trolleys and baskets in London supermarkets. Oh dear, I think I’ll throw in my Sainsbury’s receipts.
The exhibition running until 24 September also includes works by Lebanese-born artist Mona Hatoum complete Performance Documents 1980-1987/2013, rarely seen texts, photographs and videos from the artist’s early career.
The Negotiating Table (1983) and Under Seige (1982), Them and Us and Other Divisions (1984) are jaw dropping. Building on the artist’s experience as a ‘displaced person’ who fled Lebanon in the 1970s these have the shock factor and also show some poignancy in these troubled times.
With graphic depictions of blood-soaked victims this is not one for the feint-hearted, though it is sadly relevant.
One of Ms Hatoum’s “lighter” pieces Unemployed 86 involves her on-screen walking through the centre of Sheffield with ‘unemployed’ stamped on her shoe, therefore leaving a print on the pavements.
There is also a recent installation by Glasgow-based artist Tessa Lynch, and a display pairing the work of painters Louise Hopkins and Tony Swain.
Dundonian artist Pete Horobin’s work is described as ‘self-historification.’ Throughout the 1980s the graduate of Duncan of Jordanstone School of Art documented himself and the result is DATA (Daily Action Time Archive) Project.
Wall panels depict his 80s journey described by the artist as “a self-portrait of a person in an environment of constrained economic limitations.” Indeed still relevant today.
PETER HAINING/PETE HOROBIN
25 March – 24 September
SCOTTISH NATIONAL GALLERY OF MODERN ART (Modern One)