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Art in the making: Adrlan Wlsznlewski amid the chaotic splendour of the city’s new Gallery of Modern Art


For the moment it‘s all chip—board and dangling wires. but with less than two months until the gallery‘s opening. Wiszniewski is champing at the bit. Things are not quite running to schedule and until the builders finish fixing. his paintbrush won't get a look in.

It’s perhaps telling that Wiszniewski should be chosen to decorate a prime site at the Gallery of Modern Art. This is the artist who left Glasgow. the city of his birth and art training. in I985 and relocated to Northumberland. He'd had enough of the city‘s parochialism.

In the mid—80s. Wiszniewski was hailed for his often intense and melancholic figurative paintings. As he gained an international reputation. his work entered the prestigious collections of New York‘s Museum of Modern Art and London’s Tate Gallery.


Back on the home front things were not so good. Quoted in 1987 as saying ‘They don't appreciate art in Scotland unless they‘re told it‘s good by someone outside‘. He felt Glasgow was out of sync with what was going on elsewhere. He found the eagerness of some to pigeon-hole his work with that of his Glasgow contemporaries as a convenient cop-out. That

‘Glasgow is getting quite a flavour. It’s beginning to exist in international terms.’

and the jealousy betrayed by some Glaswegians blighted his concentration and prompted him to quit the city. ‘I was doing well. but some people were quite bitter.‘ he says.

Did the artist‘s return to Scotland in 1990 reflect Glasgow‘s increasingly global outlook‘.’ "There are more international flights and Glasgow is getting quite a flavour.‘ he says. ‘lt‘s beginning to exist in international terms.‘ Yet Wis/.niewski does not set himself up as an artist-cum—prodigal sort. He is critical of

The bestof; w Glasgow's Festival; , , of Visual Arts 1993;... ~

in this festival-obsessed age, they don’t Come much bigger than this. Unperturbed by its unsuccCszulbid to host the UK Year of the Visual Arts‘ 1996-: England’s northern counties won - Glasgow is bashing on with its own celebrations. The year-long festival will include hundreds of events - every exhibition in the city has been brought‘under the festival’s banner —- with major crowd-pulli'ng‘shows. public-space installations, workshops and Street'art

For details of what’s going to be happening leaf through the monthly bulletins available throughout the city. For those who may find the small-print hard going. here 's a line-up of the big events.

Gallery of ModemAr-t Opens Sat 30 Mar.

Three years in the making, the gallery is to house some of Scotland‘s greatest. including Howson and” Currie. alongside the world's best.

The WINNER Sat l9-Sun 21 Apr.

Modern and contemporary art will be on display and up for grabs in George Square. as private-galleries from around the country show their wares.

Charles Rennie Mackirtosh Exhibition Sat 25 May-Sun 29 Sept. Glasgow‘s famed architect and designer is celebrated in the biggest retrospective of his work to date. The exhibition in the McLellan Galleries will bring together previously unseen material from around the world. the show will tour to the States.

International Festival OfDesign Sept.

As Glasgow gears up for the big one. the 1999 Festival of Architecture and Design. a warrn-up comes in the form of Glasgow’s first Festival of Design, set to become a biannual event. Highlighting the work of local designers and manufacturers the festival in various Glasgow venues will also include the ‘famous’ talking'about their favourite design gadgets.

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nationalist sentiment. and asks: ‘Why do they have to dress everything up in tartan‘?’

l-lis gallery cafe certainly looks set to be free of tartan flourishes. Set in the roof. the 70-seat, split-level space will feature floor to ceiling windows with a view ofGlasgow's skyline and the pyramidical skylights that punctuate the flat roof of the Air gallery. Wiszniewski is still to decide how the space is to be decorated. He talks of making references to Poussin’s .S'ltep/ierds Discovering Daphne. painted medallions. a Starck chair in 2-D repro and a killing scene.

There will be a panel of painted and frosted glass. a new medium for Wiszniewski. and there's a promise of humour along with some pictorial questions. Wiszniewski is keen on visual poetry. ‘What is art‘?’ he says. ‘lt’s short for articulate either a question or answer.’ An all-important question in the light of current delays. is whether Wiszniewski will finish the cafe on time. ‘lt‘s a big job and the 30th of March is the only constant,‘ he says.

Adrian ll’isznieit'skiis and Eduoardo Paolozzi ’5 work will be exhibited at the Talbot Rice gallery, Edinburgh, 8 August—8 September:

The List 9-22 Feb 199617