7 Aug 2009

Stewart Lee- Taking a Stand

 At The Stand Comedy Club the walls are perspiring and the heat is fanned by laughter. Stoking the flames is Stewart Lee, Britain's one-time 41st Funniest Man and satirical thorn in the backside of mediaocrity. 
 I've been called in to try and resolve his identity crisis. Stewart is often confused with "Terry Christian, Todd Carty, Morrissey, Edwyn Collins, Leonardo DiCaprio, Ray Liotta, Roland Gift, Ali Campbell, Mark Lamarr and a 1930's drawing of Tarzan."  It was a tall order but after a couple of sessions I could now offer him a selection of Stewart Lee impressions. From the shoot there wasn't a single image he'd censor. Stewart was a great subject and impeccably unkempt company.

Edinburgh Festival 2009
  I was urban somnambulating, on my way to the college art shop, Hypocanthus at the controls. My co-pilot was hijacked by a cacophony of power tools and generators coming from the college grounds. Perfect timing: city is under excavation and it appears the college isn’t exempt.
A look behind the tarpaulin and my simmering rage was taken off the heat. Inside a sculptor was mercilessly attacking a slab of rock. This was to be a stage for a month long performance.
Eleven shelters, each housing a sculptor and a block of stone, was the setting of Milestone- brainchild of Scottish sculptor Jake Harvey. He had the inspired vision to display 10 international sculptors (and a graduate) at work in the grounds of Edinburgh College of Art. Artists from Japan, the USA, Spain, Germany, Switzerland and the UK were assembled, each demonstrating their mastery and differing styles. Over the next month they would create a finished sculpture from scratch. Through gritted goggles they assaulted, smashed, gouged and beat their hapless victim into submission. The creative fallout covered everything in a blanket of white.
In sculpture evidence of the trauma and struggle between creator and creation is usually polished away before put on display. Here was a visceral demonstration of destruction in the quest for beauty - for art. Quarrying sculptors remorselessly destroyed in order to create: they are not art nihilists. Superficially their acts appear as wanton destruction, yet are demonstrations of a fevered desire to consummat
e their relationship. The rock never submits without a fight. The two find their way together with psychometry and ardor. The course is set in stone, dictated by the flow of the petrified veins and mille-feuilles. Milestone was an insight and a revelation. It helped me to better understand my processes and draw some analogies. My subject, like the sculptors stone, is defined by the light of it's surroundings. It too is impassive and acquiescent to its environmental conditions until I start to reveal with my light. With light I can obscure, hew and expose with surgical precision.
 Once a week, for the span of the event, I made my pilgrimage and kept a record of the consequent acts on this stage.

Priest paying homage to Jake Harvey Scott's creation.

Hayashi Takeshi Japan

Joel Fisher USA

Sibylle Pasche Switzerland

Gerard Mas Spain

Susanne Specht Germany

Peter Randall-Page and David Brompton-Greene

Jessica Harrison Scotland

Atsuo Okamoto Japan

Daniel Silver Israel/UK

Carlos Lizariturry Moro Spain