Magazine article Artforum International

Marion Coutts. (Reviews: London)

Magazine article Artforum International

Marion Coutts. (Reviews: London)

Article excerpt

CHISENHALE GALLERY

In her laconic sculpture and video installations, the British artist Marion Coutts mythologizes the mundane. With the insouciance and economy of a professional magician, she makes the one-dimensional multidimensional and transforms stale habit into compelling ritual.

This is evident in her works of the last few years. Fresh Air, 1998-2000, consists of three Ping-Pong tables shaped and marked with the asymmetrical layout of three London parks; the rules of the game were completely changed, inside became outside, private became public, and the mind wandered away. In Eclipse, 1998, a small garden greenhouse is periodically filled with artificial fog, which is then allowed to disperse. Meteorological white noise was thus imbued with an ominous rhythm and density: The conservatory was redolent of a gas chamber. Assembly, 2000, featured a blue-tinted film of aerobatic flocks of migrating starlings projected precisely from overhead Onto the top of a plain wooden lectern. This flickering mise-en-scene suggested a routine lecture, speech, or sermon in which the presenter suddenly ignores the script and lets instinct take over.

Coutts's most recent (and highest-profile) London exhibition was devoted to a single new work, Cult, 2002, in which she has wryly transfigured the domestic cat. The cavernous interior of the Chisenhale Gallery was dark except for a dim light emanating from nine video monitors mounted at head height on slender gray pedestals. …

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