From being in the same year at Glasgow School of Art, RODERICK BUCHANAN and ALISON WATT have gone on to international acclaim in very different fields. The List spoke to them both as they prepared for major solo shows in Scotland. Words: Helen Monaghan
MAI“ OF THE MATCH
When RODERICK BUCHANAN isn't creating video art, he's breaking a sweat on the sports field. That's when he's not dressing up as an Alison Watt painting.
I'M MEETING RODERICK BUCHANAN at his studio in Dennistoun. His ‘studio‘ though is no more than the smallest room in his granny‘s flat. There‘s a musty smell about the place and as Roddy takes me on a quick tour. I clock the swirly-patterned carpets. 70s wallpaper and a line of carefully placed chairs on the edge of the sitting room. He finds all of this very amusing and then dares to show me ‘the room you‘re not allowed to enter’. Holding up two tea bags ready for a brew. he tells me he once went to a fancy dress party as an Alison Watt painting and about the man in the chip shop. who after weeks of talking to him about being an artist. asde him for a quote on a painting and decorating job.
This is Roddy Buchanan. the Glasgow-born artist who is about to have his first major solo exhibition at Dundee Contemporary Arts. Buchanan. like many other of his contemporaries.
16 THE lIST 16—30 Nov 2000
has widely exhibited at home and abroad. cropping up regularly in group shows. For Dundee. it marks the first time that a number of his works — some of which get their first Scottish showing — have been brought together. Audiences will now get the opportunity to make sense of his artistic career to date.
Like Ross Sinclair and Douglas Gordon. Buchanan‘s visibility on the contemporary art scene has escalated over the last few years. He won the UK‘s largest cash prize for art. Beck’s Futures. this year for his video piece (in/mtuppcr. filmed in the (‘lyde tunnel. which not only dented London‘s dominance of the art world but put his name further into the
limelight. ‘When I was exhibiting in
Australia. I noticed that when people talk about artists. they hush their voices.‘ says the down-to-earth
'When people talk about artists, they hushed their voices. Now it's really easy to say you're an artist’
Buchanan. ‘Now it's really easy to say you're an artist. you can even say you‘re an artist in Dennistoun and people won't bat an eyelid. [or all the slagging that Damien Hirst and 'li‘accy limin get. they‘ve totally popularised it and made it into a stylish and fashionable prospectf
Buchanan. working in the mediums of photography. video. sculpture and for the first time film. explores themes of identity and community. through the powerful motif of sport. And he knows what he’s talking about. He lives and breathes for sport. But not the couch- potato type. glued to a TV screen on a Saturday afternoon. but the type who enjoys the sheer pleasure of participation. liven as a season ticket holder for Celtic. Buchanan makes it clear he would muchrather play the sport than watch it.
'I started to go down that avenue of making a few pieces about sport and