The Transmission Gallery is the hippest, happening artist-run space in town. On its tenth birthday Beatrice Colin talks to several generations of talent which has passed through its portals.



ne wet Thursday night in September, the strained twangs of a Woolworth’s guitar crashed around King Street. Three dozen people squeezed into the toothpaste white of a gallery and listened to dread- locked artist. Ross Sinclair. sing Anarchy in the UK. The event was the opening of Sinclair’s exhibition and the gallery could only be Glasgow’s Transmission.

This December sees the celebration of the Gallery’s first decade. Since 1983 this artist-run space has been the zeitgeist of the Scottish art scene and committed to the idea of constant change. The gallery has gone to hell, heaven, purgatory and back again, metaphorically speaking. to encompass a range of different styles and approaches

Created by a small group of recent art school graduates, the space satisfied the need for young artists to show their work. With a loose remit to ensure a constant influx of new blood, a constitution was drawn up with a policy of member- ship and an elected voluntary committee who could run the gallery for up to two years. Proposals for shows and slides of individual work were invited from members and decisions regarding shows were made by

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Constantly re- inventing itself; the gallery’s

strength is its . perpetual state of flux. Not always viewer- friendly, the ' Transmission is never boring.’

Untitled by Anne Elllot

the committee. The gallery now has one of the most exciting programmes in the city and has raised the profile of young. Glasgow-based artists in the international art world.

The original Transmission was located in a tiny shop bang next to Terry’s Tattoos in Chisholm Street. After a few months, a cobbled lane which ran beside the gallery was annexed and due to a sewer running below, the space was remembered for its nasty smell and dank atmosphere. Early shows featured a great deal of two-dimensional work by painters such as Howson, Currie and Wizsniewski. Around the mid 80s. Malcolm Dixon, now editor of the arts magazine, Variant, joined the committee and widened the breadth of work shown. Artists‘ work from outside Glasgow. including perfor- mance-based pieces and video— installations. were exhibited.

The gallery moved to its present position in 1989 and re-created itself once again. Now a much larger. cleaner, pristine space, the gallery has a current membership of over 100 and a programme of often conceptual, experimental and time- based work.

Although the Transmission has always been a platform for new talent, committee members stress that one of the most important elements is the educational value of working in the gallery. Artists deal direct with funding bodies and stage shows, and in doing so, demystify the whole art world. Exchange programmes are also a vibrant source of inspiration and contact with the international scene, and in the last few years, links have been set up with Holland, Norway, Northern Ireland and Germany.

Constantly re-inventing itself, the gallery’s strength is its perpetual state offlux. Not always

8 The List 3—16 December I993