The Embassy: Mutatis Mutandis (2 stars)

This article is from 2008.

The Embassy: Mutatis Mutandis

Good work, bad show

When the Embassy emerged several years ago, it was as a playful, bright-eyed young gallery with a serious interest in art, as demonstrated by the strong exhibition programme. It seemed as though Edinburgh was finally going to get an ambitious artist-run initiative that could be successfully sustained in the long term.

The Embassy’s still going, but is it still going strong? Due to the loss of the gallery, the venue is temporarily operating out of a small space at Edinburgh College of Art. In actual fact, it’s less a space, more a room and a corridor – not an ideal place to hold an exhibition, unless you’re a very canny curator. Sadly, ‘Mutatis Mutandis’ has not had enough attention paid to it to enable the exhibition to work.

Essentially a traditional group show despite its ambitious-sounding statement, the exhibition does contain some interesting artwork: paintings by Hirofumi Suda, a text piece by Yason Banal and David Sherry’s work stand out. However, the links between the works seem tenuous, there is no information about the individual pieces, while the map of the exhibition is confusing and possibly inaccurate (is a video work featuring Sherry really by Eleanor Antin?) and there’s no one invigilating who can help.

The artists’ work isn’t really the problem here – even the exhibition’s concept might be further developed via the associated series of performances – but the sloppy execution is unforgivable. Have a heart Embassy – your artists, and your public deserve better than this.

The Embassy Annex at Edinburgh College of Art, 221 6000, until 31 Aug, daily 10am-6pm, free.

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