Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Albie Clark @ The Institute


The Institut Français is one of the sadly underexposed venues during the Fringe: despite having a year round of programme of classes, its August performance season has not yet received the attention it deserves. Albie Clark’s exhibition Changement de Décor remembers 2012’s festival, collecting Clark’s photographs of the venue and including snaps of Atelier du Plateu’s ROCK (a three way pile up of Gallic, punk and performance cool), Elephant Man by Compagnie du Formentier, Christine Bovill’s Jacque Brel tribute and Ma Biche et Mon Lapin, a short blast of sophisticated object manipulation.

The Institut Français’ Fringe bookings are tightly curated, concentrating on contemporary theatre styles from France but including pieces for children (Lapin Wants Ice Cream) as well as the more avant-garde choices.

Unsurprisingly, ROCK dominates Clark’s collection. Portraits of cellist Vincent Courtois and actor Pierre Baux are placed above the fireplace in the Institut’s gallery, looking down on the rest of the exhibition like a pair of bohemian uncles: Courtois, caught sitting on the steps outside the Institut has the aura of a world-weary rock star while Baux appears pensive. Images of them in action are reminders of the show’s moments of vicious energy, although a mis en place of the tangled wires is a silent testament to Rock’s power.

Clark keeps the images direct and simple: shots of performers in flow, or casual pictures of the venue avoid pretentious or overelaborate treatment. In the white space of the Institut’s gallery, the exhibition respects the detail of the venue and makes a gentle claim for the importance of its programme.

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