Up, up and never away, IAIN KETTLES and SUSIE HUNTER's giant inflatables are rooted in the cityscape of Glasgow.
Words: Neil Cooper
Hot air is nothing new in the art world. whether it‘s making sense ol over-verbose catalogue notes or trying to get a word in edgeways over \‘ino at an evening art opening.
However. lor (ilasgow artists lain Kettles and Susie Hunter. air-tilled inl'latahles' have little to do with egos. .\'or. it must he said. are they influenced by the high—llying accoutrements that surrounded the shiny happy people ol Andy Warhol’s tamed l‘actory in New York. Rather. their work with inflatables has heen a wry. tongue-in-cheek aI‘I‘air ever since they lirst hegan collaborating eight years ago. and it‘s typiﬁed by their recent large—scale piece. It's A Girl. which inadvertantly coincided with the birth of the couple’s first child.
Demand tor their work has. lor the want ill a better word. ballooned over the last couple ol years. and their latest site-specil‘ic piece. Space llll'(l(/(’I'. sees them amidst (ilasgow‘s bricks and mortar as part ol‘ l‘)‘)‘) ('ity ol' Architecture and Design celebrations. Spur-v [mm/«r sees the duo head down the blind alley ol' (ilasgow’s l'nion Place. a dead-end ol a street in the city centre which is not exactly renowned for its aesthetic appeal. l-‘or Kettles. though. it‘s been a place of lascination lin’ some titne.
‘l‘ve been thinking about this space tor the last ten
Inflated vision: Kettles and Hunter's inflatables outside last year'
'I suppose it's a response to things going on around it. There seems to be an awful lot of scaffolding around Glasgow just now.’ lain Kettles
5 Glasgow Art Fair
years.‘ he says. conjuring up an eccentric image ol
the artist hanging round street corners alter dark. "l‘he idea is to put something sharp and colourful in as contrast to the immediate surroundings. So you look down the alley and. from the first floor upwards. you see this big sphere which you can walk under.
‘In that way. it both is and isn‘t a building. and it‘ll be interesting to see if anyone actually notices it’s there.‘ he chuckles. fully aware ol‘ how the end result can be perceived as little more than light reliel' from the grey concrete surrounding it. ‘I suppose it‘s a response to things going on around it. There seems to be an awl'ul lot of scal‘l‘olding around (ilasgow just now.‘
Kettles and Hunter originally considered putting a bridge across the (.‘lyde. but that proved impractical.
hence Space Invader. which also forms part ol‘
a programme of arts commissions sited in ‘l'ound spaces' across Glasgow. Despite the good humour of the work. Kettles admits to the inﬂuence ol (‘laes ()ldenherg. the American artist known for his giant blow-ups of everyday objects. However. the opening ceremony at the last Olympic (James in Atlanta. which featured inl'latahles in a starring role. was also a turning point for the pair.
Kettles is clearly unbothered by his and Hunter‘s works being viewed as transitory or disposable. Alter real-lite conception last year and its related inflatable. /I'v A (iirl. one can‘t help but wonder what exactly the division of labour is between the duo.
‘()ne tends to come tip with the idea. and the other comes up with the pattern.‘ says Kettles. ‘Al‘ter that. we both just muck in together.’ Kettles and Hunter's huhhle it seems. isn‘t about to burst just yet.
Space Invader is at Union Place, Glasgow, Tue 30 Mar-Sat 1 May.
Titbits from the artworld
GLASGOW’S CCA MAY be closing the doors on its Sauchiehall Street premises on 5 April for a two-year refurbishment, but it’s hardly putting its feet up. Instead the centre is developing megalomania tendencies. Eight Glasgow-based artists — including Ross Sinclair, Clara Ursitta, Claire Barclay, Martin Boyce and Roddy Buchanan — are being sent emissary-like around the globe by the CCA in an exhibition entitled Ifl Ruled The World. Kicking off in Reykjavik in April, the exhibition will then embark on an international journey. Other venues could include galleries in Norway and Canada before the show returns to home turf at Glasgow’s McLellan Galleries in 2000.
BUT WHEN IT comes to aspirations of global domination, Martin Parr is way up the league. The photographer of everyday British life is launching a book, Common Sense, in tandem with 40 simultaneous exhibitions in different cities throughout the world. Parr, whose photographs have included daytrippers to England’s south coast and the nation’s hamburger-eating habitats. is showing work at Glasgow’s Film and Video Workshop until 10 April, contributing to what is described as the ’largest exhibition of work ever held by one artist in the world’.
DUNCAN GANLEY, artist and co— ordinator of the visual art programme at Edinburgh’s Cameo Cinema, is taking his ‘rolling credit to Manchester to feature in a show this month at the Cornerhouse. Ganley’s video installation of film titles has eerie overtones which would have perhaps appealed to Alfred Hitchcock. And later this in July, the same film director's influence on contemporary art is celebrated in a show at Oxford’s Museum Of Modern Art. Featuring is Glasgow’s Douglas Gordon, whose film installation 24-Hour Psycho drove countless gallery- goers to opt for a bath rather than a shower.
Burgers of England: from the hook Common Sense by photographer Martin Pull
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