Monday 23 April 2012

Glasgow International 2012 In A Day

As today was my day off work (or my "working from home day" as it's also known), after dropping the kids off at school I decided to batter round as much of the Glasgow International 2012 as I could. I did a bit of a recce earlier in the morning when out for a run, and passed the flag messages being broadcast to Govan from the Tall Ship for 'Nothing About Us Is Without Us Is For Us'. After that I decided to best way to go about things was by bike.

So after school started I had to wait unto 10am until Kelvingrove Gallery opened. They have 'Works On Paper' by Glasgow based Turner Prize winner Richard Wright, whose large scale intricate works are usually drawn directly onto gallery walls. Here the pieces are hung all over the wall in a way that makes you at times step back to take it in and then come up close to examine other works. These pieces below reminded me of some of Martin Boyce's work with their woodgrain and lettering.

Richard Wright at Kelvingrove

Back on the bike and up to the Common Guild, which I'd never been inside before, a townhouse up at Park Circus. Turner prize winner Wolfgang Tillmans diverse photography was excellent (as was the building). Even with a simple still life like the corner of a Jurys Inn hotel room, the composition and reflections need looked at again and again and the photo of Kilimanjaru at night was stunning.

View from the Common Guild
Right. 10.42am and off to the Mitchell Library. Nairy Baghramian is an Iranian-born German sculptor and she has the whole hall of the ornate old reading room here to herself and has strung a tense rope across it. Moira Jeffrey in The Scotsman liked it, didn't do much for me.

Spanner (Stretcher/Loiterer) by Nairy Baghramian

Okay 10.48 and across the corridor to the Art Lending Library by Walker & Bromwich which had more life about it as the overall-clad installers headed out with their wooden crates, first checking they had their drill with them, to loan out another piece. Part library, part theatre.

Back on the bike. Hidden in a basement at the ugly, shiny box which is the Skypark building
I eventually found Petrosphere, an ongoing collaboration between 10 artists in Athens and Glasgow. It has a variety of sculpture, painting and video work. I particularly liked Ciara Phillips 'And other options' a cross and a tick screenprinted on cotton sheets, which in the Greek context made me think of the lack of options the people there are getting on their financial situation at present. It's the kind of disparate exhibition that my kids enjoy, using their less prejudiced imagination to interpret or sneer at the work as they see fit.
SWG3 houses a group show which had some nice bits and bobs in it, but what I'd really come down here to see was #UNRAVEL across the lane. Put together by musicians Found and Aidan Moffat, you get to try to "unravel" the story of the narrator's life by picking and choosing 7 inches from his collection to play on the turntable whilst the mechanically powered instruments accompany. It is a lot of fun. Nice. The "after 4pm there are more adult themes" warning I'll leave for others to explore as I had to get going again.

'The Immortals' by Folkert de Jong
Lunchtime approached so off to CCA, where Rob Kennedy and others have video instillations. One is a film of a man walking backwards and falling down steps outside the old SFA offices at Park Circus, surely that's something that's been done many a time before? It was a shame I was on my own though or I could've had a game of table tennis on the table lying there as part of the exhibition. Cafe Saramago there is a good place for some lunch, and musician Bill Wells was eating there too (Scotland is just a big village really, isn't it?). Okay, I had to get out of the saddle and push the bike up to the Glasgow School of Art where Dutch artist Folkert de Jong has installed sculptures largely made in indestructable stryofoam inspired by Mackintosh and his group, the self-styled 'Immortals'. It is weird coming out the main door here and seeing the empty space where the Student Union used to be. I've spent a couple of nights there, now just a building site.

Down past my favourite camera shop on Parnie Street to the Modern Institute. American artist Paul Thek's works from the 60's and 70's are fantastic and his notebooks are not the dry, dusty items being described like that makes them seem. The Briggait is a lovely space that I'm always nostalgic when visiting as my great-great-great grandfather used to have a fish stall here about 120 years ago. I've not yet seen an exhibition that uses the space well and I'm not sure 'One Person's Materialism Is Another Person's Romanticism' does either. I liked the tweety bird sounds in the side room with the mountain photographs by Judy Spark & Lesley Punton.
Inside The Briggait
  Across the road from the Briggait is a new space for the Modern Institute which houses Michael Wilkinson's exhibition, Dresden in what was apparently an old glass factory. It wins 'Best Use of a Stack of Vinyl LPs in an Exhibition' award with his tower of them. From there it was only a hop, skip and a jump to Glasgow Green to revisit Sacrilege by (Turner Prize winner) Jeremy Deller, better know as 'the bouncy castle Stonehenge'. I think this is a thing of beauty. With bigger crowds here than at any other exhibit I've seen today it has also captured people's imagination. Interactive is the word I think you've to use to describe this, but it is also a lot of fun.


I didn't go back to them today as I'd stumbled accidentally into their preview nights (thank you for the wine/beer) when I was out on Friday but Marjolaine Ryley's photography of 'Growing Up In The New Age' at Street Level Photoworks is worth a visit, as are the new works by Adrian Wiszniewski at Glasgow Print Studio. They are lovely things but I'm not sure I could live with one, although his wee sketches here were also lovely. Time marching on, the kids will be getting out of school soon, so off to the GI Hub on Miller Street to see Rosalind Nashashibi's lovely film of Scottish Ballet rehearsals with fly on the wall focus on the faces and reactions of ordinary locals given access to watch. It is definitely worth taking the time to go see this if you get the chance and I recognised one of the women watching the ballet, and really hope she knows she's been included in the film. She's such a lovely person she'd get a real kick out of it.

Karla Black's "Tiramisu" (not its real name)
A short hop up to GoMA for Karla Black's sculpture/installation/pile of sawdust and cellophane. The scale of it is impressive, and the temptation is really to touch it or jump on it, but like her other stuff I've seen it left me a bit cold. My daughter when she saw it thought our gerbils would love it whereas it made my mum remember the sawdust-filled days of her childhood (her dad was a joiner). It looks like a museum attendant's nightmare. The columns as trees, cellophane made from makes you think. (I think.)

Still I was cheered to see that the Duke of Wellington outside GoMA was not only sporting a traffic cone today, but a seagull as well, every Glaswegian's favourite piece of interactive art.

My Runkeeper tracking reckons that was 17 km on my bike today and I managed to see about 17 exhibits, so I reckoned I'd earned a quick pint before I had to get the children at school chucking out time. I like the mix of Glasgow International 2012, and there is plenty more than this to see. Check out the brochure.

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