House style

Who said artists need a gallery when they’ve got a home that will do nicely? Susanna Beaumont gets domestic and takes in art and reading matter in a Glasgow flat.

It was once only housewives who had a known penchant for inviting in the neighbours and clearing the sitting-room coffee table to make way for an elaborate. pastel-coloured display of Tupperware. Or suburbanites who got cosy behind closed curtains for the gentle titillation of an Ann Summers get-together. Now Glasgow artists are welcoming in neighbours and strangers for a bit of home viewing. One household two artists and a curator have flung open not only the sitting-room but the kitchen. bathroom and bedroom. to show art and not just for an afternoon. but for several weeks. They‘re calling the show Wis/r You Were Here You.

Not that carpets are pulled up or walls painted white to get that pristine. cube gallery look. Far from it. On visiting the flat in question. at 83 Hill Street. Glasgow. you‘re handed a map as a helpful navigational tool. More crucially. for this is not a vast apartment. it points out what you‘re supposed to be looking at. For placed in the usual domestic landscape and sitting cheek-by-jowl with everyday clutter from chocolate chip cookies on the table to mags in the bathroom are works by over twenty artists. But artist David Wilkinson. one ofthe residents at No 83. points out that the whole experience makes you flex your mental muscles that bit more. ‘It makes people look harder. clarify what is art. taking you on ajourney ofdiscovery,‘ he says.

Equestrian event: a illeosize horse inhabiting Charles Esche’s bedroom by Beata Veszely

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Rural rides: Mr 8. Mrs Woo by Erlend Williamson

on Frank Stella. And ifyou find this a mundane reminder that life is about computer manuals as well as art. you can always get a blast of Ross Sinclair in his Real Life TV. screened on a telly beneath the coat rack in the tiny hall.

Sinclair is shown on the loo playing the guitar and singing a collection ofditties calledSad Songs. His T- shirt is inscribed ‘Tears Are Cool‘. This is domestic- ster melancholy that might be anaesthetised in a gallery setting. But not at No 83. Sitting on the loo. you can reach out fora personal stereo and hear Nathan Coley‘s conversation-piece Sanctuary. Or cast your eyes into the not-quite-avocado bath and see Tanya Leighton‘s collection of coins submerged in a few inches of water. Who said a wishing well had to be a goldfish-infested fountain?

So are artists spurning the gallery space for the comfort or perhaps realism of the kitchen sink and bathroom? Wilkinson and co-organiser Beata Veszely don’t feel that‘s the case. It'sjust healthy particularly in Glasgow, home to hundreds of artists. where there is a shortage of gallery space. ‘There's a big community of interesting artists here who are not totally obsessed with the gallery system.‘ believes Wilkinson. ‘Galleries are very necessary but it is a question ofexpanding the debate and showing art production is not dependent on them.‘

Sitting on the chocolate-brown carpet in Charles' bedroom. listening to Elvis Presley LPs an .. interactive piece by Andy Miller I looked up to the 3 rnantelpiece to see a photo of Douglas Gordon.

' standing like a hitch-hiker in the central reservation of a desolate dual cam'ageway. holding a sign saying ‘Psycho’. and heartin agreed. Meanwhile. over in the bay window stands a life-size horse by Veszely - which peers out onto the street. Apparently the neighbours jokingly said they thought Shergar had miraculously reappeared.

Wish You Were Here Too, IL. 83 Hill Street. Garnet Hill. Glasgow. 332 0840. The show is open F ri/Sat Ham—8pm. or by appointment until Fri I 4 Feb.

Take the pile ofdirty plates that greets the eye in the kitchen. Are theyjust waiting to be washed up or could it be a kitchen-sink installation? Of course there‘s another angle on it all the snoop factor. which Wilkinson readily acknowledges. On the first day of opening. he estimates. over 200 people trudged around his home. hunting down the art. and inspecting the inhabitants' reading matter.

Well I did. In the bedroom of Charles Esche. visual arts director at Tramway described as ‘Charles' room' on the crucial map you can‘t help but notice a small cupboard. in which there’s an intriguing sound piece by David Ward of warring. warbling


The List 7-20 Feb l997 67