Thomson & Craighead: Party Booby Trap

Art Free
4 out of 5 stars
 (© Thomson & Craighead, courtesy Carroll/Fletcher)
1/5
© Thomson & Craighead, courtesy Carroll/Fletcher
 (© Thomson & Craighead, courtesy Carroll/Fletcher)
2/5
© Thomson & Craighead, courtesy Carroll/Fletcher
 (© Thomson & Craighead, courtesy Carroll/Fletcher)
3/5
© Thomson & Craighead, courtesy Carroll/Fletcher
 (© Thomson & Craighead, courtesy Carroll/Fletcher)
4/5
© Thomson & Craighead, courtesy Carroll/Fletcher
 (© Thomson & Craighead, courtesy Carroll/Fletcher)
5/5
© Thomson & Craighead, courtesy Carroll/Fletcher

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

I’m an anxious guy. You’re probably pretty anxious yourself, because anxiety’s a modern disease of epidemic proportions. And if you’re really anxious, UK conceptual duo Thomson & Craighead’s second solo show at Carroll/Fletcher may not be the place for you. Across three small rooms, they’ve somehow managed to sum up an entire galaxy of worries, fears and general millennial malaise. 

The first room hammers the viewer with posters predicting the end of the world, balloons stamped with the names of military operations and a video of a house burning while self help slogans stutter across the screen. 

The duo has also created a perfume inspired by the descriptions of the apocalypse in the Bible. It doesn’t smell as unpleasant as you’d imagine, but it leaves a lingering, acrid scent in the nostrils.

In the rear gallery, a series of videos delve into the mapping of the human genome, self-help tapes and the time remaining until sites contaminated by radioactive waste become safe for humans again. It’s all totally heady and overwhelming. But one piece leaves a nastier feeling than anything else.

‘Six Years of Mondays’ is compiled of videos taken by a man in Fife of the weather outside his bedroom every day. Each segment of the video combines a whole year of Mondays. Endless, tedious, grey, damp Mondays. It makes you feel like time’s passing is unending, unstoppable, and unbearably tedious. It’s a hard watch.

There’s a chance you’ll feel like Thomson & Craighead have a direct line into your neuroses, or at the least have been monitoring your emails or something, because it all taps so perfectly into contemporary anxiety. It’s almost too real. This is aggressive, angsty art that really sticks in your throat. 

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