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Waiting on the Scottish Parliament by Nathan Coley

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Fiona Bradley

"Waiting on the Scottish Parliament" is one of a series of Landmark Portraits on which Nathan Coley is currently working. Each is a portrait of the artist at the site of a famous monument, together with a caption which animates the photograph and the gap between the artist's perception of the monument and a received or original understanding of its conceptual and historical impact. To do with individual and collective power, the series develops Coley's interest in the social value of architecture and the manipulation of public space for the transmission of a particular political or cultural message.

Several of the monuments with which Coley is working are marked only by their absence. He has made "Searching for Crystal Palace", a photograph of himself in the park where Crystal Palace, a building so often cited that you are tempted to believe it still exists, once stood, and "Applauding the Millennium Dome", a photograph of himself in front of the building site in London where the millennium dome will be. "Waiting on the Scottish Parliament" works similarly with a landmark – and a political process – that is yet to exist.

(Edinburgh, 1999)

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