Cara Tolmie @ DCA

<strong>Cara Tolmie</strong>'s new show at DCA, Read Thou Art and Read Thou Shalt Remain, marks a welcome return to Dundee after graduating from Duncan of Jordanstone in 2005. Ben Robinson catches up with the artist to discuss what it's all about

Feature by Ben Robinson | 25 May 2011

With such a range of media involved, it looks like being an ambitious show. Film, sculpture, text, and performance are all incorporated.

The main work in the exhibition is a 21-minute video in two parts titled Chronicle. In the exhibition the video will be screened on the hour and the half hour, behaving as an opera of sorts. The first half of the video depicts this scene through use of titles over footage of a model room with a patterned floor and a wood veneer mountain scene on its back wall. This is overlaid by a vocal soundtrack. The second half takes a step further into the narrative, portraying three separate representations of character introspection, seemingly viewed through each character’s eyes, one at a time. Each of these inner portraits is mapped out through an individual soundtrack.

The exhibition title comes from a quote by Martin Luther, which I was quite surprised by. I wasn’t expecting to find a religious impulse in your work.

I changed the word from 'Bread' to 'Read' making the phrase 'Read thou art and read thou shalt remain'. What these rebellious priests were essentially saying was – this bread is nothing but what we say it is. In the structure, in the context of the Catholic religion, it has a particular meaning imbued into it that subsequently dictates certain types of action. This anecdote, and particularly this phrase, illustrates a lot to me about modes of representation, about how structures and language systems dictate the way we deduce personal meaning and the rules by which we are willing to behave. For this exhibition I was thinking a lot about how we describe and translate and what indication this gives us of the larger social and cultural structures in place around us.


Dundee Contemporary Arts, 152 Nethergate, Dundee DD1 4DY. Until 31 Jul