Review of Estrangement: Fatma Bucak, Larisa Daiga, Evariste Maïga, Samuel Williams

Estrangement presents four emerging artists whose practices and nationalities choreograph a sly line between identity, economy, politics and video art history. Samuel Williams’ Natural Habitat sees video cameras mounted on rubber tubes, attached to portable trolleys or on draw strings, being pulled, floated or spun across a landscape and a lake. He works with the limits of time and materials – inflexibility and inevitability. But he also takes advantage of these constraints, improvising temporary pieces in a series of Twenty Second Sculptures made with the materials and objects to hand. His work has echoes of Fischli/Weiss’ The Way Things Go chain reaction video and American artist Tom Marioni’s One Second and Sixty Second Sculptures.

Evariste Maïga screens a potent double-bill of video action. One see the artist dance exuberantly in a white cube to techno music. The second sees him run on the spot to a hybrid world music soundtrack. On occasion he confronts the viewer, returning our gaze through his paradox of motion and stasis. Maïga’s works surrounds tensions of surface, meaning and knowledge. They hold a mystery, a sense of the elsewhere, and of limitations crossed. His work has traces of Pina Bausch’s merger of physicality and music and the sensitivity and simplicity of repetitive action of the French artist Jimmy Robert.

Confronting gender, ethnic difference and age Fatma Bucak screens Blessed are you who come, a performance at the edge of political conflicts. A bombed-out church, on the site of a contentious genocide, forms the background to a silent performance. A young female dressed in black conducts a meditative ritual, breaking bread and passing it to a group of elderly men, who express confusion and disorientation by these generous actions. The work speaks about clashes between geography, economy and religion: where a Christian Europe meets a Muslim Asia. A place where ancient and modern cohabit. Bucak’s video is a complex scenario sited at a place where estrangement flourishes. Her close and vulnerable encounter with these tensions is fraught and disquieting.

Larisa Daiga’s videos sees a simple ceramic sphere spun in a variety of internal and external spaces. While one video places her camera inside the sphere, fusing object, lens and screen. These vessels emit a strange tone, that rises and falls with the diminishing momentum of their potential energy. These vessels’ “voices” give sonic expression to sound and noise as sculptural form. While the video have a dramatic simplicity: chaos, motion, rest and collapse. They test the limits of the materials, their function. Daiga’s fusion of craft, sound and video is intriguingly pitched. While her work Material Op.1 (Views on Movement for Stoneware) Etude, has a particular resemblance to the Steve McQueen video piece Drumroll.

Estrangement through its cinematic staging serves to engage us with anxious spaces and places: political, personal, artistic, historical and social. It draws, though, through these emerging artists’ cameras a clear pronouncement. One that illustrates senses of social and political emancipation. And a pursuit of human reconnection.

Estrangement: Fatma Bucak, Larisa Daiga, Evariste Maïga, Samuel Williams, 18 January 2013 – 16 February 2013, Cooper Gallery, Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design.

Alex Hetherington

All images courtesy of the artists and Cooper Gallery.
1. Evariste Maiga, Improvisation Pain Joy.
2. Fatma Bucak Still III.
3. L Daiga.
4. Natural Habitat, Samuel Williams.