Martin Boyce review – ripping the beating heart of beauty from the banal and the bizarre

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Focus / Culture 59 Views comments

Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh
The Turner prize winner mourns the hellish destruction of Mackintosh’s Glasgow School of Art before sweeping you to heaven on a terrific tide of soulless tat and elegant craft

It’s hard to imagine a more evocative symbol of forlorn hopes and lost utopias in contemporary Britain than the destruction of Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s magnificent building the Glasgow School of Art by not one but two fires. Every generous detail of the place expressed a buoyant vision of a shared artistic idealism that made it the greatest work of early modernism in the British Isles. In the most perturbing of three very different spaces in his outstanding exhibition at the Fruitmarket Gallery, Turner prize winner Martin Boyce, who attended the art school, mourns this tragedy and asks for answers.

Black and white photographs are laid out on a long padded table with the respectful formality of a forensic laboratory. Who has died here? There is no body, just soot-stained walls, a ruined roof under a plastic tent, fire-damaged artworks.

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