Robertson, Alan

Alan Robertson worked together with Doug Aubrey to create Pictorial Heroes

“Pictorial Heroes are Doug Aubrey, Alan Robertson. Both studied at Maidstone College of Art and are now living in Dundee (1987). The work is concerned with the idea of barriers, and of physical, cultural, geographical and semantic divisions. For some, those featured are means of protection, yet for others they are the basis of an order that restricts, alienates and destroys.”

– Excerpt from The National Review of Live Art – Britain’s Performance Festival October 8-11th 1987 :

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    The following transcript is an excerpt from Pictorial Heroes Comments from the Artists : where Doug Aubrey and Alan Robertson reflect on their collaborative practice 'Pictorial Heroes'



    The objective of Pictorial Heroes over the past few years has been the constant refinements of those shared views, objections and expectations that brought about our initial collaboration in 1985. Though on the surface the themes of the works themselves may seem unconnected, fragmentary expressions produced at certain specific times, the basis for these reflections remains the same – an undeniable suspicion of the current trends in both politics and contemporary art practice ie. disposability, market forces, trivia, distraction, ignorance of new home – grown talent, etc, and the manipulation of the relationship between the means of representation and the means of reproduction.

    This vision is no adoptive strategy designed to make us the premier video artists in Scotland, if not the most prolific; rather it has been a vision built out of the experience of living at the blunt end of current political and social conditions, of trying against the odds to utilise our talents commercially in order to fund the development of our own work away from the machinations of any Arts Council and its attendant cliques, of even having to exist outwith the comforting cycle of a fine art lecturing circuit sewn up by the ideological and aesthetic monoliths of the seventies. It is true to say there is no romance in the work we produce, but there is humour. It is true to say there is no overtly conceptual base for our work, but it’s rooted in concrete experience. There is a quote by John Berger from a television programme that reflects on our view to making art, he said that the further up the social/economic hierarchy you are the less you are aware of the real experience of most people living below you (not even The Guardian can substitute). It is this aspect of our existence that has driven us to create work, to develop new images to solve the problems of putting the ideas across. Some complain they’re too obvious, some complain they take too long getting there, others refuse to watch because we are all to specific. Whatever their excuses, our reasons continue to be that we make the work we have to make about the things that disturb, annoy, or amuse us.

    The primary benefit of our collaboration over the years has been keeping the ability to create a discourse about what we are doing, each keeping the other on the straight and narrow and not falling into laxity or vagueness. The convergence of our separate specialisms has also motivated the creation of work and formed the bedrock for our continued exchange of ideas. Our work has been made on the basis of a struggle to gain resources, support and an audience. Along that path we have had the benefit of meeting and working with some very enthusiastic and supportive people to whom we owe a fair amount. We hope now that artists working in time-based areas, especially an expensive medium like video, can receive the attention and resources (financial and technical) that they warrant.
    My Star Sign is Scorpio.
    My favourite colour is red.  

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