Saturday, 6 December 2008


Mick Peter: Harmonielehre, Generator Projects, Dundee

What's another word for a telephone conversation? Really you'd need the renowned Inuit dictionary of snow to compare the hefty (reckoned, by conservative estimates, to approach around a million million) number of names firing across the synapses in a single half-second, and that figure arrived at on a brisk November afternoon when the mind is less wont to wander. Of these many phantoms the collection in Mick Peter's glossy Jesmonite menagerie Harmonielehre is but merely a selection of especially striking examples.
His Telephone Conversation is a mutant human/telephone hybrid whose coiling cords meld into striding limbs, flex bound tight over a muscular torso, high heels marching onward over a land peopled by his fellow monochromatic forms. The floor of the Generator is painted a lustrous black to highlight the vivid figures writhing for supremacy in a series of playful brawls, their slapstick conflicts played out before us between a parade of irreconcilable opposites, looking lively like a melange of playful paradox.
In the near corner an elegant white tribal sculpture, its brow furrowed by the effort of a thousand years’ inert solitude, has lost the nature vs. culture face-off against a perching eagle whose majestic lilac shit streams victoriously down his forehead. This is no abject humiliation, as that inscrutable face is offered as a blank canvas whose scars of avian discharge serve only to provide us with the prettiest of pictures.
The centre of the room is divided into two by the shiny grey Interference Pattern Screen, the barrier’s outlines appearing as undulating soundwaves carving up the wall’s surface, partitioning the room as it casts shadows of white noise against the gallery’s lights.
Meanwhile in the far corner a concrete-grey boxy-fingered hand bids a weary teary fond Wednesday Farewell in a state of languid resignation, waving what might be a snot-caked hankerchief or maybe just a loosely packed rolly-upper. Any sentimentality in the gesture is undermined by the figure’s bulky outsized awkwardness, its swollen touch ill at ease with delicate expressions.
Over in the smaller of the two spaces, the two drawing boards of Moldenke Fiddles On fight a brave battle against marauding hacksaws and the stabs of their setquare brethren. Bladed instruments melt and bend against the structures’ support, yet still they stand stoic, sliced-out holes forming windows of negative space in their resolute angled planes.
The sculptures stand with a bright cartoony charm, a playful stark graphic clarity, each insisting on its own lumpen materiality even against this sleek silken stage set. These objects seem to hint at a withheld narrative, a suggestion that their internal conflicts might yet be granted a happily smooth resolution, for after all everyone likes a happy ending, don’t they? Whatever the outcome, however intractable such problems might appear, these would still be engaging encounters to stand on the sidelines and cheer.

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