Lauren Kirkman: Surface
This article is from 2006.
From the conservationists to the merely parochial, locals were up in arms at the sight of the road construction. Stripping the High Street of cobblestones? Surely not! A sigh of relief then, when it was revealed that the Edinburgh’s historic sets are just being stored while the road is raised. Well-timed for such tittle-tattle is artist Lauren Kirkman’s own reconstruction. With a breadth of past work that reflects upon the history of floors, roads and other innocuous man-made materials of everyday encounter, this emerging American artist will recreate a section of Edinburgh’s cobbled road for the interior of Corn Exchange.
Kirkman’s process of turning a gallery floor inside out might appear to echo the replica casts of the Boyle Family, as well as Cathy Wilkes’ reversal of the Transmission Gallery floorboards in 1991. But where the Boyle Family are concerned with simulation and Wilkes piece focuses on the intimate revelations of a building’s hidden histories with a truly eloquent intervention, Kirkman’s new site-specific work may well prove to be a staunchly modernist affair, voiced in unyielding granite and hard graft precision.
Accompanying the installation is Kirkman’s less monumental though similarly urban-centric prints. Gathered from trawling London’s streets, the artist made brass rubbings from various gaswork and manhole covers to create the base elements for her abstracted series of works on paper. Revealing more than just a local engagement, the exhibition will be Kirkman’s Scottish debut. (Isla Leaver-Yap)
Corn Exchange, Edinburgh, 18 Aug-28 Sep