Glasgow’s art scene is hot, happening and in celebratory mood. Susanna Beaumont reports on the city’s latest art show bonanza.
A booming foghom and a rousing chorus from the schrnaltzy kids from Fame may sound a bizarre oral mix — unless you happen to be aboard a tanker indulging in a bit of 80s nostalgia — but for land- locked inhabitants, you can tune into both at Glasgow‘s Old Fruitmarket.
This vast. cavernous space has been given over to sound installations, sculpture and ready-mades in what amounts to Glasgow’s biggest show of contemporary British art. it should be quite a show, what with Brit Art touted on the global art scene as the most irreverent, sassy, sexy and exciting art ofthe 90s.
But Glasgow is notjust out following the hype bandwagon. The Old Fruitmarkct show is going to be no ordinary Brit Art affair. All 40 artists taking part are one-time graduates of Glasgow School of Art's Environmental Art department - the show celebrates ten years since its first students graduated.
Department founder David Harding initiated a quiet revolution when he set up the department in I985. Believing that ‘the context is halfthe work‘, he aimed to push back the frontiers of art production and get artists to think beyond just the traditional gallery space. Arguably the course has helped make Glasgow one of the most dynamic art scenes in Britain.
Hence the Old Fruitmarket, free from gallery-loaded label, was chosen for Girls High — the show is named after the environmental art department’s HQ
in a Victorian girl’s high school in Glasgow’s Garnethill. The exhibitors are a pretty impressive
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Billboard by Ross shag... from the Bellgrove outboard more
ct1990-91. A new billboard from Slnclalr can now be seen more personal than London,’ says Gordon-Nesbitt. ‘Artists communicate on a regular basis and have a
on the streets of Glasgow
bunch. There’s Douglas Gordon, the god-like figure of Glasgow‘s art scene. Shortlisted for this year's Turner Prize. Gordon was the one who slowed down and projected a large Janet Leigh from Hitchcock’s l’sj'rho. For Girls High he‘s making use of music by those Fame kids.
There's also Christine Borland and Louise Scullion who have represented Britain at the Venice Biennial; Martin Boyce and Gary Rough whose work has been bought by art buyer-cum-connoisseur extraordinaire Charles Saatchi, and Jacqueline Donachie, who this summer had two shows running concurrently in New York.
For Rebecca Gordon-Nesbitt, who along with Harding is organising Girls High, Glasgow has both an international feel and an intimacy not found in London. ‘Comparing the two scenes. Glasgow is
great loyalty to the city, there’s not a massive migration out of the city.’
She feels some quarters are slow in recognising Glasgow's contemporary art scene, though — none of the Girls High exhibitors have works in Glasgow's newest art collection, the Gallery Of Modern Art. But quips aside, Girls High is out to celebrate art and artists, and in line with the policy of taking an outside, some ofGlasgow‘s billboards will feature posters from the likes of Gordon, Ross Sinclair and Alan Dunn.
Girls High. 01d F ruitmarket, Glasgow, Sun 20 Oct—Tue 12 Nov; Mackintosh Gallery, Glasgow School Of/lrt until Wed 30 Oct. and billboard sites at Duke Street. C umbernauld Road. Calder Street. Dalmarnock Road and Millerston Street. Glasgow. until mid-Nov.
Hong Kong highs
There’s scaffolding of a very different kind currently climbing the facade of Edinburgh’s City Art Centre. Far from being hefty tubes of grubby steel,
this is scaffolding that’s organic. Bamboo in fact, put up by a team of workmen flown in especially from Hong Kong.
And no the City Art Centre hasn’t gone eco in its approach to external building repairs. Instead it’s doing a bit of exterior scene setting for Hong Kong - City 0! Tomorrow. For the city that boasts some of the highest, most hi-tech architecture in the world
0n the edge: llong Kong’s waterfront
continues to use bamboo when it comes to scaffolding.
llong Kong is perhaps a city like no other. liere centuries old skills rub shoulders with the latest technology. And as one of the world’s most
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densely populated areas - it has a population of 6.3 million occupying an area roughly the size of Edinburgh with a density that can rise as high as a staggering 116,500 people per square kilometre - its architecture can’t afford to be territorially greedy. In Ilong Kong - City of Tomorrow the country’s urban and architectural life is explored through models, videos and photographs. ‘We want to show how people live in a high density environment like llong Kong,’ says Jane Warrilow, the exhibition’s curator, ‘to get across the Hang Kong lifestyle, hence the lifesize show flat with all the fixtures and fittings and even a screening of tilt soaps.’
Ceded to the British in 1841, with the flew Territories acquired in 1898 on a 99-year lease, llong Kong is due to return to Chinese control next year. So it is perhaps timely that such an exhibition, which is having its only
llK showing in Edinburgh, is taking place. Kicking off with background on liong Kong’s geography - much of the area is hilly terrain and over 40 per cent of the territory is given over to national parks - it’s no architect’s dream location. Architect llonnan Foster, who built the famous towering exoskeletal llong Kong Bank, is now working on the new llong Kong airport which involves a massive landfill operation. But beyond the glitz of waterfront plazas and corporate Has is a vast, on-golng public housing scheme. ‘lt’s very well organised, right from the beginning community facilities are worked out,’ says Warrilow, ‘But people will be fascinated by what people have in their flats, and the humour.’ (Susanna Beaumont)
Ilong Kong - City 0! Tomorrow is at City Art Centre, Edinburgh Sat 26 act-Sat 4 Jan.
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