Scottish master: a still from Bruce McLean‘s film Complete Contempt (top); and Mclean (centre) with Complete Contempt collaborators, Klus Hoek and David Proud.
Bruce McLean has been on the global
art scene for decades. Yet only now is he getting recognition closer to home. *.’.I(‘.'(:'s PaulWelsh
Internationally rated tor over thirty years. Bruce .\lcl.ean has painted. sculpted. taught. filmed and probably laughed his way around the world. The result: the longest ('\' eyer digested by my poor little la\ machine. .r\t thirteen pages it's impressive. but .\lcl.ean's lcllow (ilaswegians seem to know little about ll.
l’unctuating eyery statement with a chuckle. .\lcl.ean carries an obvious energy. llis humour and enthusiasm hayc sustained his work for decades. Now in his l'il‘ties. he's on-line to tip his prolile in his home town. Ilis ’make-oycr‘ ol (ilasgow‘s Argyle Street ~ to include \ideo projections. sculptttres and lighting schemes »- is to begin nest spring. lts completion tn WW) will l‘orm part or the city‘s )i'ur ()f.rlrr'liilr'r‘ture And Design. Hut imminently. .\lcl.ean is at ’l’ramway. showing a huge sound and light installation and premiering his new Iilm ('u/ii/i/r'tv ('untwit/il.
The installation is the result of a ten-day workshop headed by .\lcl.ean with students from Glasgow School or .i\rt where he was a student back in the (ills -- and l.ondon‘s Slade. liilling the cavernous space ot"l‘ramway 2. it‘s a da//.ling array ol‘ light projections accompanied by ear-tickling sounds. words and utterances. ‘\\'e are going to blitl the place with images and light.‘ declares McLean. The show is
’There's a basic ideology and I’m sticking to it. I’m not pushing my wee Scottish painting thing. i let myself be influenced.’
scheduled to go to London‘s l(‘;\ later in the year.
Yet trying to pin McLean down to a more speciﬁc description of the work is difﬁcult. Working with him. it seems. is a step into the unknown. an unpredictable scenario where only his tttotiy'aliott is likely to remain unchanged. This is a man who relishes eclecticism. "l‘hat‘s why I teach.’ he says. ‘For me. working and teaching are the same thing. I talk to somebody and they chuck something back.
I'm not in my studio going plod. plod. paint another
kipper . . . kipper. plod . . . you know."
McLean also mentions jaH legend Miles Davis. who had a policy of working with younger people as he got older. ‘It‘s the same with me.‘ he says. "l‘here are always new people with new ideas. It keeps me on my toes. I haye done a lot ol work and some may look a bit ill-thought-out. but there‘s a basic ideology and I‘m sticking to it. I‘m not pushing my wee Scottish painting thing. I let mysell‘ be inl‘luenced.‘
McLean‘s desire to keep moving and experimenting partly explains his low prolile lll Scotland. liarly in his career. he moved to London to stttdy at St Martin’s School of Art. Years on. (ilasgow now seems to be more l‘riendly. llis lilm ('i'lmn 'Iirrl/‘u/t'receiyed a good reception at 'l‘ramway last year and .\-lcl.can counted this as his ﬁrst Scottish success. In ('ump/r'lr' ('mirr'm/il a collaboration with Klaus lloek and l)ayid Proud. which was filmed in Amsterdam over three days -r .\lcl.ean has aimed l‘ot‘ something stylistically similar to Jean-late (iodard‘s original Le Ale/iris. A l’ilm about l'ilmmaking and fluctuating human desire.
‘lt's one ol‘ the greatest lilms ever made. so our l'ilm will not be quite as good.‘ admits .\lcl.ean. "l‘here‘s no Bardot . . bttt I also want to make a picture both emotionally and technically moving.‘
Bruce McLean is at Tramway, Glasgow Sat 3—Sun 18 May. The world premiere of Complete Comtempt is screened at Tramway on Sat 17/Sun 18 May.
preview ART Artbeat
Eavesdropping from behind the art world’s easel.
RUMOUR HAS lT that Glasgow City Council is considering moving the statues that adorn George Square. The likes of Gladstone. Robert Peel and a young Queen Victoria on horseback are among those who could find themselves literally put out to grass. Talk is that they will recamp in one of the city's parks.
PERFECTLY TIMED AT the city's Lloyd Jerome Gallery, is what may be a taster of George Square's future. The Gal/us Riviera is artist Ursula Keller's vision of Glasgow transformed into a seaside resort. Or as the PR blurb puts it, a realisation of ’Lord Provost Pat Lally’s tourist confection of a Glasgow by the sea'. Lally apparently wrote earlier this year about Glasgow being one of the UK's premier tourist destinations, in spite of its lack of sea and sand. So ever mindful of boosting visitor figures, could George Square be heading for the Club Med make- over? The City Chambers would of course make an ideal holiday let.
BUT STATUES REMAIN POPULAR in some quarters. Julian Spalding, director of Glasgow Museums, has been on a spending spree. He's purchased three life-size coloured statues by artist Sean Read from the recent George Square art fair, at a price of £18,000. Included in the line-up is a statue of the Queen, cigarette in mouth, putting out the milk bottles. So will she be joining her daughter-in-law in the Gallery of Modern Art? Kamiko Shimizu's Post- Feminist HRH Princess Diana is there waiting.
APPROPRIATE TO thoughts of Glasgow sur Ie mer is a look at real sur [9 mer Scotland, namely the north-east coast around Peterhead. Artists Matthew Dalziel and Louise Scullion’s Goes Ah is a sound and light installation of images seen through a car window punctuated with snatches of conversation. It's a kind of musing on sight-seeing and the ah's we all utter when we set eyes on something breathtaking. Goes Ah is at lain Irving, Greenwards, by Hatton, Peterhead. Aberdeenshire (01779 841311) until 24 May. A perfect day-trip.
Pool aside: Glasgow's George Square transformed into a holiday resort
245 May i997 THE usr 87