'Alien' kidnap tales brought to life: Contemporary Art Market

ART ABOUT aliens, based on documentary evidence, forms the basis of an extraordinary first show at the new Independent Art Space (23a Smith St, London SW3), a non-profit exhibition gallery converted from two shops.

For sale at pounds 3,000 is a 7ft square portrait of a Grey Alien by Rod Dickinson, based on drawings and verbal accounts of dozens of individuals who claim to have been temporarily 'abducted' by aliens and subjected to horrid medical experiments.

Dickinson, 29, is primarily concerned with illustrating people's psychological anxieties. His two 7ft alien portraits, Map of Premonition and Anatomy of a Sky Creature, are scribbled over with phrases used by anxious abductees, leaving open the possibility that the aliens were figments of disturbed imaginations.

'If they were real it is fascinating,' Dickinson said. 'If they were not real, it's a fascinating cultural phenomenon.'

He is also showing enlarged details from photographs that he took at the sites of crop circles over the past three years. They show oval-shaped objects in the sky. 'I only saw a glint in the sky. I didn't see that there was anything substantial there until I developed the photographs.' The colour photographs have been printed in editions of 10 and cost pounds 200 each.

John Lundberg, 26, has mounted a photo and text installation in the second shop space, documenting mysterious cattle mutilations in the US. In several different states cattle have been found dead, completely drained of blood, with sex organs, eyes or ears neatly removed; Lundberg's text panels discuss the three principal explanations that have been put forward: (1) Satanic cults, (2) Secret US government experiments, and (3), biological experiments by aliens. The complete installation costs pounds 4,000 (from an edition of three); individual photo and text panels cost pounds 850 each and a video of the same subject costs pounds 50.

The Tate has bought a huge and harrowing video piece by Bill Viola, The Nantes Triptych, which was recently on show at the Whitechapel Gallery, for dollars 155,000 ( pounds 120,613). The triptych comprises three enormous video screens; on the left, Viola's wife is giving birth; on the right, Viola's mother is dying in hospital; in the middle Viola floats underwater, suggesting the way that human beings float from birth to death.