House Party @ Project Ability, Glasgow

Renowned French artist Esther Ferrer's 1998 recording of her home, routine and chores, is put together with the work of several emerging artists as a means of drawing out the uncanny aspects from familiar settings and actions.

Review by Adam Benmakhlouf | 03 May 2018
  • Esther Ferrer

House Party is a strewn array of drawings, prints, sculpture and costume. They fill the room where Esther Ferrer’s 1998 sound work Fête Maison plays. It’s a soundtrack of rattling domestic chores and personal hygiene.

Particularly at the point of an abrasive toothbrush scratching noise, there’s a sense of disembodiment in its amplified treble, as it’s louder than if it was the noise of someone nearby – more like the kind of interior volume of brushing one’s own teeth in one’s own skull.  

There’s more scrubbing, as an experimental and syncopated score begins to play dissonantly. Previously, just the murmur of what sounds like news coverage was the background noise. It’s at this point that any sense of a simple everydayness is supplanted by a sense of dread, an uneasy striking rhythm in the score with which the household noises begin to meld.

The moving body is suggested by clatters and banging in the track, as a kettle is heard to open, close and drop down to boil. This brutish bulkiness is illustrated in the photocopied posters of artists Pester and Rossi showing a six breasted torso, broadly brushed inked hair dropping over someone’s head suggested only by a thick neck. Something like a balloon is passed through legs that end in claws. A top left figure nevertheless throws her arms up joyously, indulging in the different stretches and bent limbs.

With some connection to common objects, there is a repeated sense of remaking: eggs that are cast, broken lenses and bits of wool in pickled jars, handmade slippers that are blown-up to costume scale. While there may be references to home and common objects, they are made into raw materials again, and are copied and pasted together to reveal and re-do the constructedness of the humdrum. 

House Party, Project Ability, 103 Trongate, until 7 May