For the 2017 Edinburgh Art Festival Ingleby gallery reaches the half way point of its year-long marathon and per se and – a sequential exhibition where one work is paired with another for two weeks at a time across a stretch of twelve months.
Fittingly, for an exhibition that is in itself something of a durational challenge, the half way point brings us to a sequence of artists whose very different work and approach is nonetheless linked by their dogged pursuit of ever-varying repetitions of the same subject.
This phase of the sequence pairs a painting by Giorgio Morandi with a film and audio work by Icelandic performance artist Ragnar Kjartansson. At first glance these works may not appear to have very much in common, but bringing them together reveals an unmistakable connection of spirit. Paired earlier in the month with the work of James Hugonin – who works today high in the Cheviot hills between England and Scotland, working and reworking the possibilities of sequence, series, repetition and variance – Morandi too worked in semi-monastic isolation in Bologna in the middle years of the 20th century, painting the same sets of jugs and vessels over and over again. Kjartansson’s film A Lot of Sorrow depicts the performance orchestrated by Kjartansson at MOMA PS1 in 2013 in which he asked the American rock band The National to play their song Sorrow repeatedly for six hours straight. Described by the New York Times as “Minimalist in structure: yet unimaginably expansive” it is a masterpiece of endurance art – soothingly melancholic and strangely hypnotic. It will be screened in full daily from 8 August, the first time that Kjartansson’s work has been seen in Scotland.