The GI is a very particular event. Festival though it is, it remains, in this city so close to its art and artists, authentic and graciously, one might say even resolutely true to the grass roots. Proud too, as it well might be with its impressive alumni of global art stars, many of whom were in the room to hear the polis ring the bells of home-grown success at the opening bash.
Said speeching preluded the viewing of Richard Wright’s (Turner prize winner) intense and intricate works on paper at the Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery (one of those wonders which still has the stuffed things along with the art things). A nicely flamboyant aesthetic environment for Richard’s super detailed and lightly loaded works that elaborate the line into pathologies of pairings and psychological tensions
But the night was yet young!
The rolling opening continued at Tramway, that vast cavernous space in the City’s southside. Four projects here, which all require better attention than can be mustered between chatting with colleagues and friends. But you get an inkling.
Moyra Davey’s film Les Goddesses deserves longer viewing, but the small bit we did see showed a seductive visual poesis in operation, brought together with a monologue based on the writings of proto-feminist, Mary Wollstonecraft, her daughters Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin (later Mary Shelley) Fany Imlay and her stepsister, Claire Claremont, who are collectively known as ‘Les Goddesses’. We enjoyed the nervy, jumpy and self-conscious reading – too fast at times, halting at others, uncorrected and bare – along with the assured film work which delivered some beautiful and patient footage, which gave space for thinking.
….ok, not a lot thinking…the crowd was noisy and thick.
Black Forest was an event by Los Angelian artist Kelly Nipper. An ambitious performance of enigmatic qualities, which activates the floor as a stage for slow moving choreographies amid still props. A hard gig with so much chatter.
While the collaboration between film, theatre and visual arts in Graham Eatough, Graham Fagen and Michael Mc Donough’s hugely ambitious The Making of Us posited the audience (allowed entry periodically –doors closed to block out the buzz of the opening celebrations) to become extras in the making of a new film. We were witness to a particularly dramatic scene in which the lead actor was required to hang himself from a tree…we want to go back and see more of this staging and making that will result in a film at a later date!
We managed to organize a few sneak peeks
We were lucky to have an early viewing of Wolfgang Tillmans’ beautiful photographic stagings at The Common Guild. Exploiting the very unique aspects of this domestic Georgian space, with its immaculate whiteness, grand glass windows and turned wood details, Wolfgang has made a precise and pitch perfect installation of his photographs. In each instance the clusters combine to include the found visuality of the space – the fireplaces, mirrors, spiraling staircase and grand bay windows become ensembles of double pleasure.
We were particularly seduced by the floating world within world that he managed by the simple gesture of placing images on the mirrors which then enter into the world outside through the windows. The Common Guild is one of these spatial and given gifts to artists. It never fails to provide an inspiration for artists who have already succeeded at the large scale to reacquaint themselves with the detail of their practice. We loved Wolfgang.
The sublime and awesome
From the intimate and small to the large and hefty, we were also able to sneak a peek at soon to be opened Karla Black’s awesome project at the GoMA. Another of Glasgow’s fabulous spaces, the ornate and vaulted grand room at GoMA, with its procession of sturdy neo-classical columns and gilt ornamentations has been beautifully framed and wonderfully held by Black’s massive sculptural block of compressed fibrous wood and sawdust. Bulky, convincingly dense and indomitable, this form displaces the gallery space to its outer edges and upwards where you can delight in the acrylic chandeliers of twisted plastic that festoon the hall and sculpt the air. Small surprises and reprises are held within the twisted stuff and slow viewing rewards with glimpses of little things and mini sculptures and painterly details.
Up on the roof
Dialogue of Hands is up and open and we hope less chilly as the days roll out for the GI event. A certain way of keeping warm is to have a go at the tin drums …we did…and play a bit in this temporary sculpture park made to make you move the body and create your own spaces. The works of Chris Johanson, Camilla Law, Mary Redmond and Corin Sworn are the brought together ensemble for this event that lives between sculpture and social enterprise.