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Published in BBC News, 6 February 2014
A set of steps in Edinburgh’s historic Old Town, which have been closed off from the public for 10 years, are to be repaired and revamped.
The steps are to get new gates and an art installation by renowned Edinburgh artist Callum Innes.
Callum Innes said: “I was initially approached by Malcolm Fraser to develop an installation that would reclaim the steps as a public space, addressing some of the issues that had led to its closure.
“By placing an infrared camera half-way up the steps we make a hidden part of the steps visible, relaying live footage of silhouetted figures to be superimposed onto the changing colours of the screen.
“The installation directly engages both the architecture of the steps and the public for whom they serve.”
Some of the funding is being provided by Edinburgh City Council from its neighbourhood environment projects budget.
Published in Time Out, 23 January 2014
Sadness is an overlooked emotion in contemporary art, but if anything deserves to be called truly sad, it’s Jaki Irvine’s latest film ‘Se compra: Sin é’. Partly, the feeling comes from the powerfully lugubrious music, the gradual building of which is what the Irish artist’s video is all about. Filmed in Mexico City, it begins with lone street traders crying out in plaintive, sing-song voices, announcing their wares for sale. Next, an Irish folk singer and stringed instruments – filmed in the more salubrious environment of a professional recording studio – start up, while subsequent street scenes bring in more sounds. You’ll hear garbage collectors, itinerant knife whetters, steam hissing from mobile plantain ovens, accompanied by a haunting Irish folk ballad. Everything coalesces into a wonderfully immersive, deeply melancholy medley.
Published in Design Boom, 15 December 2013
Throughout her work, new york based artist polly apfelbaum examines postwar abstraction in relationship to popular culture. The work occupying the gallery floor at the perez art museum, miami refers to the sinister monkey character from the popular cartoon series, ‘the power puff girls’.‘Mojo jojo’ is made from hundreds of shaped pieces of dyed velvet – using all 104 colors produced by the french fabric dye company sennelier — placed directly onto the ground. Spanning 18 feet in diameter, the massive spiral is rich in varying colors and hues, changing their value depending on both the angle of the viewer and the light that enters the space. an important aspect of the work to apfelbaum is this captured sense of fluidity, as the chroma is constantly evolving and moving along with the observer. Its circular geometry and fabric dyes reference the carpets, quilts, and domestic hand-crafts that were influential to the artist during the 1907s, while tie-dye, popular during the late 1960s inform the palette. ‘Mojo jojo’ is currently shown for the exhibition ‘americana: formalizing craft’ from now until may 2015.
Published in The Independent, 22 November 2013
It was a flat tyre that led me to Anna Barriball. I had been visiting Hurvin Anderson’s studio in Bermondsey, South London, when I found myself stranded in the rain. Barriball, who works in the same complex, rescued me, taking me into her studio to wait for the AA.
Her studio is on the same floor as Anderson’s in the former biscuit factory and shares his outlook – an open sky and trains zipping by on the aqueduct. She loves the beautiful sunsets, she says, apologising that she has to carry on working as she talks. Her pieces are due to go to the framers later today for her new show at Frith Street Gallery. Her assistant, Annabel, carries on painting a strip of fluorescent orange that will eventually be hidden but will cast its ethereal light across the final work.
Barriball often works on the same theme. One set of drawings is made using the mundane ceiling tiles often seen in 1970s buildings, by painstakingly piercing through the tiles with a pencil. I ask how long they take to make. “They take time. There is often a layering of time, in the making and the subject. I’m also showing video loops at Frith Street. They’re made from still images edited together to give movement and duration.”
Published in The New York TImes, October 2013
Mobility and fluidity are key themes of “Go Away Closer,” which opened Oct. 8 at the Hayward Gallery and runs through Dec. 15. At the heart of the exhibition is “Museum Bhavan,” a series of mini-museums that have evolved from 30 years of Ms. Singh’s work. Handmade from giant, folding wooden panels that open and close like books, each portable “museum” is fitted with both old and new black-and-white photographs.
Published in BBC Radio 3 , 2013-10-10
Arts and cultural debate with Philip Dodd including social media and democracy, photographer Dayanita Singh plus Verdi…and Shakespeare.
The photographer, Dayanita Singh, documents our interior landscapes. At her new exhibition at London’s Hayward Gallery, Go Away Closer, she tells Philip how her approach to the camera is influenced by the rigors of indian classical music and the demands of literature. For Dayanita Singh, images must be displayed and curated in such a way that they tell part of a story…and since the story is constantly evolving and changing, so must the way she chooses to show her work.
Published in The Telegraph, October 2013
Dayanita Singh, subject of a major retrospective at the Hayward, photographs everything from India’s upper-class sitting rooms to its cemetery-dwelling eunuchs. Mark Hudson meets her.
Dayanita Singh is obsessed with paper. Her most recent book, File Room, comprises sumptuous black-and-white photographs of paper: in boxes, in sacks, in massive ledgers, but mostly in loosely tied bundles, crammed into creaking shelves in dusty government archives in India. We see the earnest-looking guardians of these places, but it’s the paper that takes centre stage. You can practically smell the desiccated, browning leaves, feel their dryness against your skin.
“I have a visceral response to places like that,” says Singh. “To paper factories, old bookshops, people’s private libraries. I find the thought of the secrets and knowledge contained in all that paper deeply moving. I have long conversations with my publisher that are about nothing but paper. I carry the stuff around with me all the time, because I never know when I’ll have an idea for a book.”
Published in ArtForum, October 2013
Despite its ostensibly humble, idiosyncratic materials and elegant post-Minimalist aesthetic, Cornelia Parker’s work is often infused with a frisson of danger, the aura of celebrity, or the lure of the spectacle. All three are manifest in The Maybe, her 1995 collaboration with Tilda Swinton, in which the actress lies, apparently asleep, inside a glass vitrine. Reprised intermittently at the Museum of Modern Art in New York over the course of this year, the work had drawn criticism for pandering to our culture’s obsession with celebrity, albeit in acceptably high brow form. And indeed, there is something troubling about Parker’s visually seductive practice, which offers vicarious encounters with violence, fame, and illicit substances, all rendered palatably abstract.
Published in The Financial Times, 27 September 2013
I have driven miles across the Irish Republic to visit Dorothy Cross, one of the country’s most distinguished contemporary artists. She lives in the far west of Connemara, beyond the fretwork of bog and lake, beyond the sharp-peaked Twelve Bens looming beneath a shifting sky, where the coastline fragments into inlets and islets. From the window of her simple farmhouse you see the entrance to Killary Harbour, Ireland’s only fjord, and the “smooth bald hill”, the impressive Mweelrea, rising beyond. This empty landscape, best known from the paintings of Paul Henry, Jack B Yeats and others, seems fit for hermits and visionaries.
In Cross’s driveway, however, there is commotion. Her new black Labrador bounds genially, demanding a walk. There are builders finishing an extension linking her simple farmhouse with her pure wedge-shaped studio – “So that I won’t have to get wet when it rains.” Cross had a tea party for the builders the day before to celebrate the completion. That morning a curator had arrived to discuss her show in Dublin next year.
Published in The Indian Express, 20 September 2013
When she started photography in 1986 with a project on tabla maestro Zakir Hussain, Dayanita Singh — seeking an alternative to the traditional format of exhibiting with a series of single images on the wall, matted and framed — produced a book, titled after the musician. The form, she said, made her the curator of the project that put her in control of every aspect, from the font to the accompanying text.
Ever since known as a ‘bookmaker’, Singh has, however, continued to experiment with form. Her latest creations are portable ‘museums’, where the images move away from the wall and into ‘houses’ of their own. Each ‘museum’, made using wood, is six- to eight-feet tall, has 70 to 140 images of which 30-40 can be displayed at any time while the remaining are in the structure as the ‘reserve’ collection.
Singh explains that the ‘museums’ go beyond the idea of display to create a complete set of spaces that can be inhabited not only for storage of photographs, but also as rooms for looking, thinking, moving and connecting the visual material that they gather. “For instance, ‘Museum of Chance’ comes with its own tables and stools. ‘Museum of Photography’ has its own benches. There is a ‘Museum of Machines’, ‘Museum of Men’, ‘Museum of Embraces’ and so on.”
Now, eight of Singh’s museums will be part of an exhibition at London’s Hayward Gallery next month. Titled ‘Go Away Closer’, the artist says this showing is part-retrospective and part-prospective. The solo exhibition will open on October 8 and the works will be on view till December 15.
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