Martin Boyce - Our Love is like the Earth, the Sun, the Trees and the Birth

The installation works well as an environment but seems vague

Article by Morag Keil | 10 Feb 2007

Martin Boyce is an artist based in Glasgow, who studied at the Glasgow
School of Art. He is represented by The Modern Institute and has exhibited
internationally. His work is influenced by (among other things) modernist
design history, advertising and film. Currently Glasgow Gallery of Modern
Art is showing an installation 'Our Love is Like the Earth, the Sun, the
Trees and the Birth' by Boyce as part of their Contemporary Collection in Gallery 2.

As the poetic (whether genuinely or sarcastically) title suggests, this
installation is made up from several different elements. Despite being able
to give a name to each of these structures they are very minimal and only a
suggestion for the objects - this gives the setting a surreal and unspecific stark feel. The most notable part of this installation is the atmosphere created by the dim lighting. The Gallery lights are off and the light in the space is provided by the tree-like sculptures, made from tube lights. This immediately detaches the installation. The experience is surprisingly effective and gives the feeling of passing out of the real world and into a stage set of a play/film.

The other props/pieces which make up the scene are dull and rusty looking, making the work colourless and adding to the film noir quality of it. It appears to be a glimpse of a scene; there is no comfort here, simply structures that are yet to have the human elements added. The installation seems to be the opposite of the title and although some parts of this piece suggest nature (the tree structures) this is a stripped back representation. I imagine a room like this to be the dwelling
of the character in A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch by Alexander
Solzhenitsyn. There is a suggestion of the romance of poverty and the
starving artist whose poverty justifies his work. The space itself is very
contained and the writings on the grating direct your eyes around the boxed-off installation but also suggested a space beyond them.

The installation works well as an environment but seems vague, leaving the
viewer with an unsettling feeling and inability to define the experience or
to grasp a full meaning of this piece. The installation like "love" in the
title cannot be defined by one word or object. As an "out of" gallery
experience it proves effective.

This work is part of the ongoing contemporary collection at Glasgow Gallery of Modern Art. Free.