Visual art exhibitions and events with a platform for critical writing
Transmission Gallery, Glasgow
1 September - 3 October 2009
Reviewed by: Richard Taylor »
Bee Paintings (and supporting publication by Transmission Gallery/Koenig Books) is Klaus Weber's first solo show in Scotland, marking installed canvases with colourful-shit and the return of Transmission Gallery to its original premises. I stand with little knowledge of Transmission's origin, but during invigilation of the exhibition visitors added to its history; explaining how its affiliation to Glasgow City Council's new venture Trongate 103, may or may not differentiate from its original community orientated setup.
Does this show get lost amongst the reverie of hats old and new deciding whether solidifying such affiliation with the council's gentrification was the right move? In other circumstances the exhibition could concretise its goal more assuredly, yet the affect of Weber's practice stands alone without the need for affiliation. It does something that Transmission may need to do, not stand out but instead settle into the space:
The show is an annual effort by the circulating committee to represent a more established artist in conjunction with the group's growing membership. Aided by the precision of behavioural examination, a plethora of experiments indulge in the chance happening of a hive of bees painterly defecating pollen-like marks upon carefully placed canvases. To accurate affect, the adherence to understanding this communal-shit-happening preludes a stage affair between human and bee. Bee like human, human-like is a hive of bees; the relationship is reciprocal and self-perpetuating (and likely to eventuate union protest).
The installation is accurate just like its underpinning research. Stripped to bare minimum and hemmed in by darkened walls the presentation is completed by evidential catalogue. A successful addition, the catalogue sports an essay by cultural critic Tom Holert (focussing on notions of the companion species relationship that the paintings exude) and other elements of documentation. At the artist's discretion the exhibition is presented in stages. From the roadside, the window displays promote photographic advertisement for the interior. Upon entering the gallery the stage-set is basic and ripe for improvisation. The third part of the exhibition lies in the clues within the catalogue, hidden at the back of the room.
The final part exists in the proposal form and supporting drawing inclusive in the publication's remaining pages: purely conceptual it is open ended, full of fictive possibility that resides momentarily within reality. In its other pages is a documentary photograph of the canvases in Berlin, which completes the cyclicality of the exhibition. Varied in size the works cover wall and floor: maintaining the actuality of their execution, they are 'placed' like props reflecting a focussed performance, the aftermath of which the exhibition fully engages with.
The repetitive nature of Weber's work is paramount, rendering the exhibition investigative for its audience: each part reflects the other offering clues to possibility or document for reasoning. The exhibition should hold no bounds - just like the bees that would swarm the statue, to take on the form of a human, calling it protest - and the installation is impressive. Yet I get the feeling it is bound: not within the pages of the catalogue but by the gallery's return to or from stature.
[Review first published by Transmission Gallery, Glasgow, September 2009]
Richard is an artist/writer living in Glasgow and onlined editor on behalf of a-n The Artists Information Company, for the Degrees unedited and Students community sites.
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