Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Kathryn Elkin - Mutatis Mutandis

Collective Gallery, Edinburgh
March 29-May 11
Kathryn Elkin doesn't want to say too much about 'Mutatis Mutandis', 
her new video installation that forms part of Edinburgh's Collective 
Gallery's Satellites programme. She doesn't want to give too much away, 
the Belfast-born purveyor of performance, video and text-based work 
says inbetween rummaging through the BBC archives as one of six 
Scotland-based artists given access to such a treasure trove of sound 
and vision with a view to creating new work from it.  That Elkin has 
the time to explore such a major undertaking may in part be down to the 
fact that 'Mutatis Mutandis' is a stand-alone work that doesn't require 
her physical presence.

“It's the first time I've really had to do a straight-forward 
exhibition,” says. Elkin, who, as well as her own film and performance 
work, has presented and curated her own events at CCA in Glasgow and 
elsewhere. “I'm not going to do any live work, but neither is it a film 
documenting a performance. Performance can be very fragile. It's all to 
do with how you connect with somebody or not.”

Far from being evasive, Elkin is effusive about Mutatis Mutandis', 
peppering her conversation with references that include composer Eric 
Satie, novelist Philip Roth, radical psycho-analyst Theodore Reik and  
recently deceased avant-garde theatre and  opera composer Robert 
Ashley.

“Reich wrote about female masochism,”Elkin explains, “and the 
differences between male and female masochism, so in a way the film is 
trying to un-binarise things we normally think of as binary. I like 
awkward things. I like things that are half one way, half the other, 
but it's good too to have someone put your hand behind your back and 
make you do things a certain way. I suppose in that way I'm a female 
masochist.”

The List, March 2014

ends

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