Wednesday, 5 October 2011


1977 - punk exploded in the Scottish cultural landscape Pete Horobin and Harry Nelson hitch-hiked to France. While they travelled - by erratic stops and starts - southwards - they sang those classic lyrics made popular by Plastique Bertrand - Ca Plane Pour Moi. The Tom Robinson Band - 2-4-6-8 Motorway. Jonathan Richman and The Modern Lovers - Roadrunner. This emotional energy seemed to make everything possible – even hitch-hiking through France!
St Tropez - while lying half-asleep Horobin glanced across a space of a few metres towards a line of nubile – honey-coloured - female bodies - petite triangles covering their sex - nipples erect on pert breasts – oh so inspirational in that moment that he thought he should begin putting his art into a common space where it would have to fend for itself - instead of continuing to place it in the protected environment of a gallery. It is unlikely that naked female breasts alone nourished this epiphany so we have to consider other possible sources of inspiration such as – the very precariousness of hitch-hiking itself and the close proximity of Fluxus artist Ben Vautier in Nice - implying a viral attack.
Whatever – the virus was carried back to Dundee where Horobin began to mass-produce hundreds of small collages. Two hundred of these were distributed to people by a random process which combined an invented code imposed on the local telephone directory. It was extremely unlikely that any of the originals would survive - if any did Horobin reckoned they deserved to become works of art - therefore his criterion for establishing what might be termed a work of art was based upon that item's survival.
Horobin’s tireless activities attracted the attention of two Edinburgh-based artists – Tom Wilson and Dick Ross – who suggested he join them to form Visual Arts Promotions (VAP). The combined energies of Ross & Horobin were formidable – the public’s opinions on Scottish art were recorded in the street – art had to become more socially interactive or die! Products – comics and badges, postcards and books - were packaged like ubiquitous commodities and sold cheaply in commercial galleries.
The complete documentation of The Accessibility of the Art Object and Visual Arts Promotions is archived in the National Library of Scotland and is publicly available by arrangement.]
Some examples of VAP/Pete Horobin product above...
1st - Badge collage.
2nd - Collage drawing.
3rd - Envelope collages.
4th - Page from collage book.
5th - Postcard collages.
Courtesy of The Attic Archive.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, there. I'm conducting some research into the field of Scottish alternative and underground comics for a reference guide I'm writing on the subject. Being that Dick Ross is mentioned in this post, are you familiar with a comic that he published entitled "The Jamboree"? If so, I'd love to learn more about it, or any similar comics that were being produced in the region around that time. Please, email me.