11.5.14

AMY PRCEVICH WRITES ON FAIR ISLE 5


We are introduced to this incarnation of the project by Anna Jaaniste’s You – a series of text based wall plaques intimating a one-sided contemplation. Arranged at eye-height and ankle height throughout the space, the work does not allow you to be passively curious. To fully comprehend the artist’s words you must crouch down to read the work in its entirety, inadvertently assuming a contemplative pose. 

Further into the exhibition we have the opportunity to hear the artist read aloud from the wall plaques and the work becomes less of a comprehension exercise than an aurally emotive experience. We have already read the script, but with our own inflictions, and internal dialogue. To pause as an artist pauses, and hear tone and emphasis placed on specific phrases is an addictive way to absorb the work. The physicality of the words helps us develop a quiet understanding about human relations and relationships.

Jaaniste’s second work Live Here is organic both in its arrangement and medium; comprising of an assembly of grass, wood, charcoal and ash, it binds us to a sense of people and place. Lying gently next to Beata Geyer’s stark, flat, red and orange, mdf constructions Live Here and Geyer’s Colourings create a poignant conversation between tribal anecdotes and urban landscapes.

Similarly Margaret Roberts, Blp, a nod to Richard Artschwager’s blps is sprawled throughout the exhibition space, highlighting the pleasantly parasitic nature of the install. Artschwager used his bold, black lozenge-shaped constructions to draw attention to the urban landscape, interrupting people’s consciousness through bizarrity and unexpected form. Blp maintains the integrity of the artist’s voice but in the sprawling, overlapping way it is arranged within the space it gently informs the way we think about unused corners or cornices within an architectural landscape and complements the way we look at neighbouring works in the exhibition.

In Raft drawing # 4 India Zegan’s seductive pencil drawing continues her ongoing interest in the iconic French Romantic painting The raft of the Medusa – imagining refugees from the sunken French frigate. Even without this background the work evokes a sense of bobbing and floating in a maritime landscape. It is hypnotising and  hallucinatory and by drawing on archival Fabriano paper – a material we were introduced to by Helen L Sturgess in Fair Isle week one - we are encouraged to view the work as a historical document.

At the back of the exhibition hovers Jillian Campbell and James Nguyen’s offerings of agar jelly, arranged gift-like around a tv monitor. The uv light and gentle buzz of the monitor create a very alluring invitation for the viewer to approach and find out what’s on the telly. It is an internal fight not to recoil in disappointment as we realise that approaching the work is equivalent to entering a twilight zone. Warnings about piracy and reproduction are screened in a loop, to an audience of fungal blooms eliciting a physical response to the work. The work however, is far from a disappointment, more a gentle conversation about the ethics of reproduction and its physical effects.

Fair Isle, in all its forms, has read like a relationship – brooding and thoughtful, spontaneous and intimate – and in Fair Isle number five there is a sense that we have reached a personal resolution after a series of negotiations.

Amy Prcevich
May 2014

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