By Gareth Harris; Nancy Groves; Michael Church; Julian Hall
The Independent (London, England)
Scandinavian show imitates life and death in Venice
BY GARETH HARRIS
*** With a cast of gigolos sipping vodka cocktails, works on show by some of the world's most high-profile artists, and even a full- length swimming pool, The Collectors installation is set to be a talking point at the art world's most prestigious event, the Venice Biennale (7 June-22 November). Over 20 international artists and designers will transform the Danish and Nordic pavilions (segregation according to country is a quaint custom of the 114 year- old Biennale) into an outlandish household residence with works of art by Klara Liden of Sweden, German photographer Wolfgang Tillmans and the fetish artist Tom of Finland dotted around bedrooms, fireplaces and dining rooms.
An estate agent will inform visitors to the Danish pavilion of the "Ingmar Bergman-style family dramas that used to haunt this house", says a spokesman. The interconnecting pool then leads to the Nordic space, a bachelor pad owned by a mysterious Mr B where young male hustlers lounge languidly. Kitchenware, clothing, furniture, fireplaces, even a stuffed labrador by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan, all reflect the self-indulgent tastes of the unreal inhabitants.
"The Family home in the Danish pavilion is quite Hitchcock inspired while the neighbouring bachelor pad in the Nordic pavilion looks like a mix between Austin Powers's secret holiday pad and the interior motifs from early Hockney paintings," explains the co- curator Michael Elmgreen, one half of the mischievous Scandinavian art duo Elmgreen and Dragset.
Is the project a caustic commentary on the vanity of contemporary art collectors? "We are actually less interested in the market aspects of collecting, more the psychological and socio-cultural reasons for this strange phenomenon. Why do some people collect and surround themselves with objects? It's true that we have a "For Sale" sign outside the Danish pavilion and a dead collector floating in the swimming pool, but these interventions were planned long before the credit crunch. Sometimes reality just keeps up, doesn't it?" says Elmgreen, laughing.
Roaring Forties blow into town
BY NANCY GROVES
*** While most of the UK gears up for tomorrow's televised final of Britain's Got Talent, spare a thought for those who prefer to ride a different entertainment wave.
For more than a year, the chaps and gels of the Fitzrovia Radio Hour have been charming London nostalgists with their live fringe performances of classic radio plays of the 1940s and 1950s. Tonight, however, marks their debut at the UnderGlobe, the 300-seat exhibition space beneath Shakespeare's Globe on the South Bank.
Founded by jobbing actors Jon Edgley Bond, Alex Ratcliffe and Forties enthusiast Callum Coates, the Radio Hour was named after the location of its earliest broadcasts, a basement speakeasy in a former department store off Charlotte Street in London's Fitzrovia.
The basic format remains true to this day: four short plays - tonight themed around the concepts of time and space - delivered in cut-glass accents and accompanied by DIY sound effects and a superb house band. Not to mention spoof advertisements with deliciously un- PC plugs for whisky, Bromo Quinine tablets and cigarettes.
"This is not pastiche," insists Edgley Bond, 32, who cites both The League of Gentlemen and The Goon Show as writing influences. "Rather than sending up the genre, we're trying to recreate a ramped- up version. There's a lot of subversion in those original scripts." Even so, both cast and audience enjoy showcasing an authentic look. Edgley Bond swears by Mister Ducktail off Carnaby Street for his regulation RAF crop, plus lashings of pomade. …