Friday, 3 August 2012

Edge In Landscape (art)

The Edge In Landscape is an exhibition of international contemporary art. All the works have been newly acquired by the Towner Gallery, with help from ArtFund, and are by Yael Bartana, Mario Garcia Torres, Joao Penalva and Eugenio Dittborn.

The inspiration for the exhibition is Eastbourne's location. The sheer cliff of Beachy Head is very much the edge of the country and the works featured are also concerned with edges. Some are physical barriers, others are social frontiers.

Eugenio Dittborn is a Chilean artist who, in order to bypass the oppressive regime of his country, posts his works by airmail to galleries around the world. The works are made of lightweight materials and are collaged drawings, printed text, and photocopied photographs. I found his work difficult to understand and could not reconcile the explanation that was given to visitors with what I was actually seeing.

Mario Garcia Torres' My Westphalia Days was another work that I don't think I 'got'. The 15 minute film imagines the journey of a stolen caravan through urban streets and rural lanes. It was inspired by the genuine temporary disappearance of a caravan from Sculpture Project Munster in 2007.
still from Summer Camp by Yael Bartana
I did like Summer Camp by Yael Bartana. The 12 minute film is shown in a claustrophobic wooden booth and is a documentary of the rebuilding of a Palestinian house by a group of volunteers in 2006. We see the European and Israeli volunteers working on the house with basic tools and facilities - at one point they are mixing cement in a bath - while a threatening Israeli army jeep circles, keeping an eye on them. What really sparked this film for me was the music. There is no dialogue or narration but the mood changes signified by the soundtrack are very effective.

Unfortunately, overall, I was disappointed by Edge In Landscape. The connection between the works seemed tenuous at best and there was only one where I believe I understood the point that the artist was trying to make.

Towner Gallery, Fri 13th Jul to Sun 30th Sep.
Tue - Sun, 10:00 - 18:00. Also open Bank Holiday Mondays.
Free admission.

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