Men in a state of partial undress, causing a public disturbance on city streets would not normally be associated with art, unless it's one of Francis Thorburn's public performances. Previous works, with Thorburn in his guise of 'Minister of Alternative Transport', have involved scantily clad male participants powering strange sculptural vehicles. For the artist's first solo show at Enclave he's presenting works that inhabit a shamanistic personality.
Secured by rusty nails on the gallery walls are ten pairs of worn black socks and red garments that resemble ragged loincloths and bandanas. Encased in a glass vitrine are a man's suit, shirt and tie, laid flat as if in preparation for ceremonial use. The relevence of these outfits, displayed like museum artefacts, becomes apparent when you enter the second space, hidden behind a white curtain. Here a large wooden construction, like a medieval torture rack, is positioned in front of a film projection of ten men wearing the loincloths and socks and carrying the wooden platform on which a suited Thorburn is lying upside down, his head hidden from view.
The film is a document of a processional performance by Thorburn in an Edinburgh shopping area, an absurd spectacle to renounce consumerism, observed by curious members of the public. There are echoes of artist Joseph Beuys in Thorburn's exhibiting of performance objects as worshipful relics, but also hints that it is not just the artist but we, the public, who are making a spectacle of ourselves in our willing acceptance of social structures and conformity.