Prints of Darkness
Playful compendium of new work exploring record cover art
This article is from 2010.
If a record is the ultimate mass-produced multiple, the mainstream music industry’s demise has seen a reclaiming of vinyl as a more bespoke medium whereby one work of art (musical) is packaged inside another (visual). This compendium lines up 13 responses to the idea of the album cover as an outlet in itself by artists knee-deep in DIY culture and the fan-boy/girl allure of limited-edition geekery.
Rather than go for some classy coffee table vibe, most reach for something more primitive. Malcy Duff’s warped cartoons find a natural home, while Tommy Crooks subverts the pastoral and Lee O’Connor captures a whiff of opium-den Victorian gothic.
The punning stunt of the show’s title is picked up, first by co-curator Norman Shaw with his European gothic horror comic art-influenced double-sided gatefold ‘Princess of Wails’, and in Mark Wallace’s ‘Lordin’ It’, which features an image of moustache-era Peter Mandelson looking like a pink-tinted icon from schlock Japanese game-show ‘Banzai!’
Most of these are made on flat surfaces, and only Andy Wake’s fold-in diorama of Aleister Crowley and Duncan Marquiss’s actual gatefold sleeve long to be filed alphabetically with the rarest of the rare. Vicki Bennett’s shadowy crooner in ‘In Dreams’, meanwhile, presages her lavishly packaged picture disc, ‘This Is Light Music’, a typically playful cut-up of pop cultural ephemera.
The second room features walls covered with album covers from Shaw’s own collection that act as part-shrine, part-record fair. And yes, there is a merchandise stall.
Edinburgh Printmakers, 557 2479, until 4 Sep (not Sun/Mon), free.