Cheer up! It’s Not the End of the World .., Edinburgh Printmakers
According to the Mayan calendar, we have until 21 December and that’s it. With that in mind, Norman and Sarah Manning Shaw have collected apocalyptic images from Damien Hirst, Andy Warhol and younger artists such as American Ricky Allman whom they discovered on the internet.
Allman’s doomsday scenario, Let it Go Get it Low, is one of the most intriguing: the metal skeleton of an office building floats free, the computers and desks weightless in the geometric remains. With something of Charles Avery’s imaginary breadth, it appears to be one chapter of a longer story and leaves the viewer wondering what happens next.
The financial meltdown is, literally, the backdrop for Gordon Cheung’s three contributions. Superimposed on the stock prices from the FT are threatening black clouds parting to show a green abyss (Floating Worlds), a miserable stump (Tree) and a set of scenes from Revelations. It’s a heavy handed device and feels a little old. Does anyone still check their stocks and shares this way?
David Faithfull’s screenprint Bear Market: Bull Market makes a similar point more cleverly. The outline of a bear emerges from a wall of dots. On closer inspection, each dot is made from a torn fiver. At the bottom of the frame, looking like the debris that collects in a derelict shop front, is the rest of the shredded cash. Did the city boys of the bear market rip it up to impress some stripper, thus creating the conditions for the bear to come lumbering towards them? Intriguing stuff.
Hirst’s Death or Glory: Sunset Gold/Blind Impression Glorious Skull is the kind of thing on which said traders once spent their bonuses. His etching Round (from in a spin in the action of the world on things) is gorgeous but not noticably gloomy. Andy Warhol’s lithograph Electric Chair can hardly fail to chill: the familiar trope of the repeated image on different coloured backgrounds, but with Old Smokey instead of Marilyn.
In Martin Barrett’s etching Retail Apocalpyse Episode 1, a fag-smoking centaur pushes a shopping trolley through a bombed-out landscape. In It was Always Likely to End in Tears, a huge bird of prey attacks a heavily-tattooed kabuki warrior against a backdrop of shop logos. The technique may date back to the middle ages but this feels like a very 21st-century apocalypse.
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