I recently found myself in Dundee with a few hours to kill so I paid a visit to the DCA to check out whats new. Dundee itself looks like a city on the move with the new V&A Museum looking more complete every time I pass through to the social media buzz around the Dundee Design Festival (sad to say I missed it all). But as always the DCA had a load to offer the time constrained traveller as I rifled through the shop for 20 minutes before heading over to check out the show by Mark Wallinger.
The first room contained a film screening which appeared to show a scaffold being erected on a beach. Having recently discovered how handy a scaffold can be I was mesmerised watching as each piece was locked into place. As I peeked round into the main gallery space I was confronted by a giant monolithic Tardis, like the one Doctor Who uses to travel through time, except this one appeared much bigger and to be made from silver. I can still remember seeing these old police phone boxes dotted around Glasgow etc but the size and material beauty of this one was quite something. I'm glad to report its smooth finish wasn't tarnished by greasy fingerprints either but the urge to touch this object was strong!
Another video installation piece featured 4 screens which appeared to be showing different angles from the same spot. The rather inoccuous views took on a different edge when seen in the gallery, almost transporting the viewer to some generic housing estate square, VR done on the cheap maybe. From here you begin to see the main works for the show, a series if giant, almost rorschach test style paintings, each measuring 3.6m high by 1.8m across. As with the police box piece its the size of these paintings which really caught me, I stood looking at each one with wonder. The gallery assistant kindly told me that the artist works on both sides of the canvas simultaneously, the left hand mimicking the motions on the right, stroke for stroke with incredibly accurate results. To tackle the huge height the canvases are rotated allowing the artist to work at a comfortable height and avoiding the need for a scaffold or ladder.
The show served as a joint exhibition with a second show at The Fruitmarket Gallery which I sadly didn't make it to. But for a simple stop gap between St Andrews and getting home the DCA offered up something truly special. I often wonder what could have been had Peacock Visual Arts managed to beat the egocentrics and town planners who backed the raising of the gardens instead of helping them see their vision of a world class arts and education centre right in the heart of the city. Alas there's not much point in going over old wounds and if anything it gives me more reason to get down to Dundee to see whats new! .