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Paul Carter at The Embassy

The Sleep of Reason

Gordon Cheung
Tam A

8th Apr - 30th Apr 2006

The Embassy is pleased to present recent paintings by Gordon Cheung (London) and Tam A (Edinburgh).

Gordon Cheung’s paintings capture hallucinations of a globalised metropolis in oil, spray paint, Financial Times stock listings and Chinese ink. His gigantic canvases open onto sublime vistas in which an infinity of data render the precipices and cataracts of the Romantic quarry. This is not wilderness, however; and the air still reverberates with a neon after-glow of advertisers hoardings.

Gordon Cheung - Terror!!
Gordon Cheung - Terror!!
Financial Times, Pastels, Acrylic Spray and Gel, Ink, Gloss on canvas

Gordon Cheung
Installation view - Overlit Realm (left), Terror!! (right)


Gordon Cheung
installation view - Technophobia


Gordon Cheung
Gordon Cheung - Technophobia (detail)

If Cheung depicts the detritus of a city’s ex-tenants; the graffiti & the fly-posters, then Tam A could have put them there in the first place. Recognised by Edinburgh citizens for his screen printed designs for Edinburgh club Goulag Beat, Tam A’s paintings have an obtuse logic, featuring bludgeon of colour or spirographic voids.

Tam A
Tam A - L’Oréac
Installation view

Tam A
Tam A - Dirty Red Diamond Devil Dance


Tam A
Tam A - L’Oréac


Thomas Aitchison
Tam A - Inside The Vaccuum Cleaner


Mirrormask/non-entity in this hole,
O Sanitary owl.
Buy some product hum dinger,
Then floating into the night.
L’Oréac’s interest is a designed beauty.
Victim Victim Victim.

My gift to you,
Tells the Oracular.
Is dust cubed,
Some vacuum cleaner love.
Cuum closer,
A4 paper A4paper A4paper.

- Tam A



Accompanying Text:


On a step at the foot of the old stock exchange, sat a fat and red-faced boy, in a state of somnolency... He appeared content; completely oblivious to the clouds that had gathered above and the subsequent rain that had moistened his pullover.

‘Damn that boy,’ said the old gentleman, ‘he’s gone to sleep again.’ And with that, produced a fashionable willow cane and prodded the poor fellow in his side. -‘Joe; the door, open the door!'

The fat boy, unfazed, rolled slowly off his step and held the carriage door invitingly open.

Room for you all, gentlemen,' said the stout man. 'Two inside, and one out. Joe, make room for one of these gentlemen. Now, Sirs, come along;'

We filed in with difficulty; ourselves first, followed by the old man and the fat boy, who, once inside, fell fast asleep instantly.

‘Very extraordinary boy, that,’ said Mr Buchanan, ‘does he always sleep in this way?’

‘Sleep!’ said the old gentleman, ‘he’s always asleep. Goes on errands fast asleep, and snores as he sits on his throne.’

‘How very odd!’ said Ms Galloway

‘’Ah, odd indeed, ‘returned the old gentleman; ‘I’m proud of that boy – wouldn’t part with him on any account – he’s a natural curiosity!’

At that moment, the chime of Mr Kelly’s Casio sounded, and it became clear to all that the main event was due to commence. So the stout gentleman put on his spectacles, and Mr. Buchanan pulled out his glass, and everybody stood up in the carriage, and looked over somebody else's shoulder towards the Stock Exchange. And what a scene did unfold!

No less than a thousand traders, clerks, assistants and runners emptied hurriedly out in formation between the pillars of the Exchange Building . One rank clambering over the heads of another rank, and then running away; and then the other rank clambering over the heads of another rank, and running away in their turn; and then forming squares, with traders in the centre; and then descending the steps on one side, trading slips in hand, and ascending it on the other again by the same means; and calling on their cell phones, and behaving in the most curious manner possible. And such an awful noise as they went, that the air resounded with the screams of consultants. Everybody was excited, except the fat boy, and he slept as soundly as if the roaring of cannon were his lullaby.

“... what the hell is going on? I just saw 200,000 shares move, are we part of it, we better be, pal”...“Sorry, love it at forty. It's an insult at fifty. Their analysts don't know preferred stock from livestock”...“wait for it to head south, then we'll raise the sperm count on the deal... right. Get back to me. ” ...”Yeah, I'm having a Mac attack. 20,000 shares. For about 30 minutes. Lunch? Are you joking -- lunch is for wimps. Get back to me”...“find out from the inside if the books are cooked. If it looks as good as on paper, we're in the kill zone. We lock and load pal...”

And then it was over. The workers returned within the shell of the exchange almost as surprisingly as they had at first appeared. A blanket of trading slips littered the flight of steps as confetti might have, had this edifice been put to some other use.

“Joe--damn that boy, he's gone to sleep again--Joe, help Tom put in the horses.'

The horses were put in--the driver mounted--the fat boy clambered up by his side--farewells were exchanged-- and the carriage rattled off. As the Pickwickians turned round to take a last glimpse of it, the setting sun cast a rich glow on the faces of their entertainers, and fell upon the form of the fat boy. His head was sunk upon his bosom; and he slumbered again.

T Grace