Teamwork disrupts all our expectations of the artist. They shatter the concept of the lone genius, starving in a garret. Yet in visual art some affecting and dramatic work has been produced by the likes of Christo & Jeanne-Claude, and Scottish artists Dalziel & Scullion.
In Transmission Gallery’s manic tribute to duality and plurality, John Beagles & Graham Ramsay’s miniature industrial unit dominates the proceedings. Orderly from the outside, inside it is a deviant house of fun, crammed full of demented wind-up toys, newspaper cuttings, two dummies of drone workers and a severed hand with a fried egg.
This chaos is nothing compared to the Ecole de Burrows et Bob Smith, a dysfunctional educational institution sprawling across the gallery floor and walls, where the teachers’ registers feature memory prompts such as “quite handsome” and “no talent whatsoever”. A mattress, rivalling Emin’s bed in its messiness, is where the opening night Lennon/Ono Bed-In featuring Joseph Beuys and his Coyote took place. It didn’t, of course, but the notion is another wry dig at institutional practice and history, especially where art is concerned, from David Burrows and Bob & Roberta Smith.
Bank have been working collaboratively for almost a decade; here they show apocalyptic paintings — think Soviet propaganda posters meets Berlin wall graffiti. Lighter and slicker is the work of Austrian duo Markus Muntean and Adi Roseublum, photographs of young people in a mocked up fast-food outlet.
Where the light hits their faces, they have smudges of grease. They somehow still look cool. There is nothing cool about Heidi, Paul McCarthy and Mike Kelley’s hilariously dark take on family a values. Excessive, almost unwatchable, the film makes Mike Leigh’s work look sunny. Sequences focus on family members such as Tim. A dummy is used to represent a him on the toilet: the whole family are helping him pass larger and larger items into a as bowl. A sausage, and then a salami, accompanied by a thin, brown dribble, are enthusiastically greeted by a team of helpers. Helping Tim is the less glamorous end of collaborative work, maybe, but like everyone in this show, his family seem to be enjoying themselves mightily.