As Steven Campbell prepares for his first one-man show in Scotland, The List discovers what the art world really thinks of him, while Lorna J. Waite examines Eventspace in forgotten Glasgow.


Cultural contexts

The City of Culture ballyhoo with its big name exhibitions and hype has been accused ofignoring Glasgow’s blighted peripheries. Lorna J. Waite discovers a group of artists intent on making statements in unusual and unfashionable locations.

Eventspace is a Glasgow-based organisation which aims to explore new contexts for the presentation and production ofart in Scotland. Sites and Positions is the latest project which involves a series ofcommissioncd site and situation-specific artworks presented in locations throughout Glasgow. The works are not presented in the city centre but in displaced and peripheral areas.

Sites and Positions is the work ofsix artists: Alison Marchant. Christine Borland. Douglas Gordon. Gillian Steel. Euan Sutherland and ‘Prolific Pamphleteer‘. The artists‘ choices of practice are motivated by a desire to reflect upon structures which seem antithetical to the content of the work itself— for example the gallery system and the making ofaestheticised objects. The works and their means of production involve parallel considerations ofplace and history. context and effect; each work relates to the space in which it is presented.

Douglas Gordon questions the meaning of history by creating visible markers representing ignored events. In his work. history is a construct with many voices. some forgotten. A textual mural situated on the facade of the old Glasgow Green Station aims to draw attention to events in Glasgow‘s political history for instance. a 1916 bylaw which restricted free speech and assembly at a time when anarchist dissidencc was organized and threatening. The work asks why these dates are forgotten. and shows that historical truth becomes a patchwork of suppressed knowledge.

Similar themes are explored in Alison Marchant's audio-visual installation. Household. in Luath Street. Govan. Recalling the Rent Strikes of 1915 and 1920-27 in which the activism ofwomen was the determining factor ofthe organisation and endurance. the house will be a site ofdisclosure and story-telling. Through the voices and images of the women‘s lives and the assimilation oforal history archives and local sources. the house will be transformed. made expressive of a social discontent which resonates


with present oppressions. eliding the passive associations ofdomesticity. Euan Sutherland‘s three-part installation and process work. Renovation, Reactivation, Reaction, will take place around Springburn. A closed-down school in Colston will be the site ofone part of the work. Challenging spatial alienation and working with the obsolescence. human emptiness and political dereliction which the school evokes. the work will fuse these concerns using ecological and other social issues.

Questioning the natural order of things will be at the centre ofChristine Borland‘s incisive critique ofthe function of the museum. Working at Kelvingrove Art Gallery in the Archaeology and Fine Art Department and at Summerston Dump. she aims to transpose the commodities associated with each site refuse bales and precious antiquities and. in the process. juxtaposing the consumerist decay and ecological chaos of the dump with the bourgeois ideology of the museum. This is an exploration of methods of categorisation and classification which confer an unreal purity on the exhibition ofobjects which often only exist by virtue ofcolonialist exploitation. The aesthetics of her work are historical and refuse hierarchical judgements of value based on power remaining with the privileged.

Animate Her is the title ofa collaborative

project between Gillian Steel and six girls from Sighthill which can be seen at Maryhill Arts Centre. The resulting short animated film. interviews and storyboards are the artefacts produced while working together and the empowering opportunity ofquestioning sex roles. social conditioning and lived experiences. This counteracts the effect of lowered expectations because ofpoverty and lack of opportunities.

Prolific Pamphleteer's posterwork and sticker campaign ofArttficial Intelligence to be situated in bus shelters and elsewhere. highlights criticisms ofthe City ofCulture. perceived as the impoverished myth-making ofcentralising institutions such as the Scottish Development Agency. Glasgow District Council and the arts establishment. lnterventionist in a publicly visible manner. the samizdat message reminds the viewer of the true interest ofthe cultural financiers.

Constituting cultural critiques which refuse specialism and broadly question accepted standards in highly thought-provoking ways. Sites and Positions is exemplary of cultural work which attacks through both its process and its content.

Sites/Positions will be launched on Sat 1 7 Mar and will run until Sat 3/ Mar.

The List 1) 32 March l‘)‘)() 57