I've got all the money in the world but here the coffee is only half the price. This must be the place. And it’s twice as good as home. It’s great with borders vast. I could spend a whole year travelling within, from summer to summer and then back home again. Monumental postcards written, dated and signed as if I would be the man on that horse. Back in the saddle again, I'm lying on a towel on a beach. While high poplars sway in the backdrop scene to a gentle breeze, I see myself from the glare of too young locals passing by. Passively in action, I feel popular even though no one knows who I am. Washed on the surf of the sea to an unknown shore, I now enjoy. Who cares when sipping on local refreshments with wide blue eyes, off-piste when it’s at best. Touring during the autumn in a country I don’t know, I learn to know the inner fields, being what others call a tourist among other tourists, I fill out the land. All of it for sale, open on Sunday, closed on Monday, available during the other days, like ripe fruits in an orchard stolen by my foreign hands.
Here I am. Lying on a bed that is mine for the night and watching swaying curtains with shades that reveal what is real outside, on the floor a late sunbeam slowly stretches out to follow steps that went off to bed before. I now see what I earlier was looking at, me under a monument of a high horse and cast in the saddle a frozen man, from right below, tiny and so twisted in perspective that he now is difficult to understand. Underneath the minimal cast shadow of metal skin, I see myself standing with my half drunken glass, and I start walking from place to place to find the difference in between, the ice on a stick moves me like a tall poplar tree in a gentle summer breeze. Melting away and dripping down to places no one ever goes, if not just ending as stains on shirts, short hot pants, naked legs or shoes. Leaving drop marks and forming patterns under all those touring soles, patterns of steps that wash out like waves hitting the beach or reaching a shore. To this I am returning night after night, addicted to impressions and shivering under my burning tan. Waiting for the shutters and my lids to close for the day and the thoughts to take me home, I look for one last local refreshment with wide lakes of blue eyes. Going, leaving, travelling but never to arrive, I slowly move towards a bed that is mine for the night and close the curtains in front of the window where upon I rest my sight and travel on during night.
‘TOURIST’ is Fiona Mackay’s first solo exhibition at the gallery. She graduated from Glasgow School of Art and participated in artists’ residency Wiels in Brussels and de Ateliers in Amsterdam. Her work has been shown at Wiels, Brussels (2009), Wilkinson Gallery, London (2010) De Nederlandsche Bank, Amsterdam (2012), Glasgow International Festival (2012), Albert Baronian, Brussels (2012), OUTPOST, Norwich (2013), among others.
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