Late last month we made a trip to Glasgow at the invitation of The Common Guild to give a lecture about the work of Roman Ondák, who currently has an exhibition there (until 14 December). We took the opportunity to stay a few days in Glasgow to see exhibitions and do some studio visits with the many artists who call the city home. A big thank you to Kitty Anderson and Katrina Brown for the invitation and hospitality.
In our lecture on the evening of 21 November we talked about some key works by Ondák – including SK Parking(2001) and The Stray Man (2006) – suggesting how fin-de-siècle Vienna provides a lens with which to focus on its negotiation of both the cliché of "life as art" and the grim stereotype of "the everyday" in the former Eastern Europe. Ondák's show at The Common Guild filled the galleries of its present home in a Victorian townhouse near Kelvingrove Park with a series of works in vitrines which couple early still-life paintings and drawings by the Slovakian artist alongside the actual objects depicted. A chair, a length of rope, a twig, a vase, and so on, become caught in a humorous riddle about reality and its representation and when the "real" work of an artist can be said to have begun.
The previous day we'd visited the studio of the amazing filmmaker Luke Fowler, who was about to go to Huddersfield for their Contemporary Music festival and a collaboration with David Toop. We also met with Corin Sworn, who was one of the three artists representing Scotland at the 2013 Venice Biennial, though in fact none of them was actually Scottish. Scotland + Venice 2013 – whose final week was during our visit to Glasgow – was conceived and produced by The Common Guild. (We were also delighted to be able to meet the great filmmaker Duncan Campell, another of the Venice artists later in the week).
In the south of the city, we were glad to be able to visit Tramway, the multi-use arts venue that's been running since the late 1980s and now also hosts the Scottish Ballet, as well as a huge exhibition space with an important history of shows. It hosted an impressive show by Lucy Skaer entitled "Exit, Voice and Loyalty", as well as a "House Style" a series of commissions made in response to Roundabout a series of film from the 1960s and 1970s designed to promote Britain as a progressive world leader to south and south-east Asian audiences.
Lucy Skaer at Tramway: Exit, Voice and Loyalty takes its title from economist Albert O. Hirschman’s essay on how change comes about through dissent.
Haegue Yang's exhibition at GSS included these macramé mobiles.
Haegue Yang at GSS. Yang's residency resulted in a number of new technical innovations, included a motorized system for a new Venetian-blind installation and these ceramic hand gestures.
Finally we were happy to spend time with Carles Congost, who by Catalan coincidence, opened an exhibition at CCA Glasgow on Friday 22 November. Curated by Emma Brasó with works by Congost and Henry Coombes, "Man of the Year" runs until 26 January next year.