Edinburgh | Artist
Outsider artist Kevin Harman is putting a brick through the window of the establishment. Literally. Edinburgh is a schizophrenic city. Beneath its ancient cobbles, courtyards and stairwells there is resident darkness. It tarnishes the chocolate box veneer of the city’s surface. Twenty-eight-year-old artist Kevin Harman, the third son of a second-generation butcher from the housing schemes, grew up in Wester Hailes, one of the estates that surround the city. Contrary to the situation in most English conurbations, the wealthy folk of Edinburgh live smack bang in the middle of town; everyone else is left out in the blighted borderlands. They meet up at the weekend, so the cliché goes, to drink and rage and spill out of the late night bars and fight and eat deep-fried food. After the revelry they go back to where their roar is safely contained. Harman’s work is rooted deeply on this so-called dark side of Edinburgh’s duality.
“I am like Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde,” he says, mentioning the work of Robert Louis Stevenson, that other twisted Scot. “It tears me apart. On the one hand I’m out there as an artist intervening in people’s lives, talking to people, getting my hands dirty creating real stuff in the real world that people have a genuine relationship with. On the other hand I’m exhibiting little drawings in the National Gallery of Scotland.” There is a masculine, visceral thread through Harman’s drawings and sculptures. Golf clubs spill from dumpsters. A quiver of knives is thrust deeply into the rusted steel of a digger’s claw. A plunger is stuffed into the face of a motorbike helmet and floats eerily in space. Raw fish explode from a plastic container.
Published on Jun 25, 2010