Narcissus at the Fruitmarket

Earlier this summer there was an exhibition at Edinburghs Fruitmarket Gallery titled Narcissus.  Narcissus is a Greek mythological character who appears in Ovid’s Metamorphoses in 8 AD, he falls in love with his own reflection which he sees in the still surface of pond, and spends the rest of his short life gazing longingly upon himself until he wastes away entirely.  What an idiot.  Anyway this myth has inspired various artists and the Fruitmarket brought together a number of disparate works that referenced narcissism and self love.

I enjoyed Yayoi Kusama’s installation Narcissus Garden for the combination of its simplicity and effectiveness and the creepy feeling it gave me in the context of this exhibition. A large area of the first floor of the gallery was taken covered with these hardened mirrored balls, all of which seemed to have a distorted image of Me in them, me me me everywhere looking back at me..TOO much..and you could wander through this field of balls but I felt crowded out by so many images of me coming along too even though I was the only living breathing human in the gallery at the time.

The other artwork I sat and wondered at was a work by Pipilotti Rist titled Sip My Ocean (1996).  Using two large scale double screen projectors projecting on to adjacent walls the images being mirrored versions on one another.  Images of Rists body underwater, seaweed and coral and various artefacts such as the heart in the image below.  Along with the sound track, the size of the screens across two sides of the space and dwarfing the audience it felt quite overwhelming.


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