As our colleagues in galleries around Europe, and especially this week in London, begin to re-open their doors, in Scotland we remain under lockdown, and so we enter week ten of The Unseen Masterpiece, continuing our (non) exhibition exploring the connections between things across 22 years of the gallery’s history.
Last week ended with the work of Moyna Flannigan whose collages gather and connect fragments from all manner of sources, much as we are attempting to do in this sequence. As she said in Friday’s film “sometimes these connections are purely visual, but often I’m trying consciously to connect disparate elements”. These elements include hands, feet and other body parts borrowed from her own drawings and paintings for new compositions, and often reference art history -which leads us here to Mark Wallinger’s Ego.
Ego is another collage of sorts, comprising two iPhone photographs of the artist’s left and right hands in a playful re-staging of Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam. As Mark has said: “I posed each hand as in the Michelangelo and I realised I was looking at the limit of what I know of my body. It was then slightly strange, as well. There’s a hubristic thing about the nature of creation of creativity. Michelangelo is being hubristic, in a sense saying: ‘and God created me’. This work was something that was Blu-tacked to my kitchen wall for a year and a half until it struck me that I was looking at these two extremities that I can move about and make things with…”
Ego was first shown in the exhibition ‘Mark’ which came simultaneously to the Fruitmarket Gallery in Edinburgh and DCA Dundee in the spring of 2017, linking the two galleries in a happy moment of inter-city collaboration. At the same time, we showed Mark’s 35mm film The End (what better place to start) as the opening work of and per se and a year-long cycle of exhibitions, on the theme of the connections between things that celebrated the gallery’s 20th year. In the summer of 2008 Mark was also the first artist to make a work for our public art project Billboard for Edinburgh.