Lila de Magalhaes @ Collective Gallery

Article by Nancy Katz | 10 Oct 2008

Lila de Magalhaes' offering to Collective's New Work Scotland Programme makes for a strong, moving and deeply humorous start to the now greatly anticipated annual exhibiting programme. For me, laughs engendered here are inherently personal, linked to a lifetime of drawing an unprecedented amount of comedy from imagining friends and loved ones alone during the day in their houses. My joyful imaginings started with Cosmo The Cat and ruminations upon her home-alone activities on the kitchen counter, and now continue with my unemployed flatmate. Initially, this exhibition makes you feel privileged, for seeing the works is akin to watching someone very much alone at home. Retrospectively, this exhibition makes you admit silly things.

Magalhaes' video 'A Hunter's Poem' (2008) sees a female character wearing a lampshade on her head, squint glasses and a sash of Schwartz spices fashioned like an ammunition belt, mincing around her living room acting out several role plays. Her witterings, delivered with perfect comic timing, centre on a disinterested dog and some sort of hunting pursuit. Tonally, Maegalhaes has pitched this perfectly. What could have turned into a disturbing work remains playful and filmic, despite even the reality-TV grumblings of the hand-held camera. The fuzzy humour of this video work is complemented by a sharp and technically accomplished installation which sees a series of large diamonds, crafted from furniture and carpet, scattered amongst a set of twitching monitors. Dark, provocative and deeply considered, Magalhaes here offers a precise matrix for the ramblings of the house-bound 'hunter'. A truly entertaining and accomplished first round for the Collective. [Nancy Katz]