Main: Work by Simon Starling; Insets I-r: Palazzo Giustinian-Lolin; Jim Lambie; Claire Barclay
Glasgow artists are heading to the VENICE BIENNALE. But whatever happened to Edinburgh?
Words: Helen Monaghan
amed for its intricate maze of canals. narrow streets and gondolas. Venice is also home to the greatest art show on earth. the Venice Biennale. Held every two years and commencing in the month of June. the exhibition welcomes over ()0 countries. each spotlighting its artist in a dedicated national pavilion. And this year. one such country is Scotland.
with its first ever national presentation of
contemporary art at the Biennale. So who has got the prestigious job of representing
Scotland? Whereas most countries show the work of
one artist (Turner Prize winner Chris ()fili is representing Britain) Scotland is sending three: Jim Lambie. Claire Barclay and Simon Starling. Selected by curators Kay Pallister and Francis McKee. the Glasgow-based. Glasgow School of Art graduates were chosen for their site—specific. sculptural installation work which will fill the live very grand rooms of a 17th century palace in the heart of Venice.
‘The final selection was made partly because of the excellence of their work and the venue.’ says Francis McKee. ‘We can‘t really use the walls in the venue as they are lined with silk so that made something sculptural tnuch more attractive.’
Making that final decision was no easy task for Pallister and McKee. For six months. they travelled across the country. visiting artists in their studios (or bedrooms in some cases) after making an initial list of who they would like to see. The project. named Zenomap and organised and funded by the Scottish Arts Council and the British Council. is set to put Scotland firmly on the international art map.
‘lt‘s almost like there‘s several artworlds in Scotland. not just one.‘ says McKee. ‘lt was a fascinating discovery. When you see the strength and diversity and the range of people working in Scotland
‘The strength and range in Scotland puts us on a par with major art producing centres’
it really puts us on a par with other places that are considered major art producing centres.‘
Such is the diversity that during the opening week of the Biennale. there will be a projects programme featuring screenings. events and performances by Katy Dove. Graham Fagen. Rosalind Nashashibi and Joanne Tatham. and Tom ()‘Sullivan among others. New work will also be commissioned to accompany the project in the form of posters. llyers and audio and web-based work featuring artists such as David Shrigley. Dan Norton and Beagles and Ramsay.
There is however. disappointment for Edinburgh- based artists — not one has been chosen and the selection appears to be heavily Glasgow based or graduates from Glasgow School of Art. So how does McKee explain this Glasgow phenomenon'.’ ‘We really went out our way and tried to think. actively. not Glasgow. When we spoke to Dundee‘s Generator. for example. Duncan Marquiss was brought to our attention. We really liked his work and wanted to contact him but they said: “Well. he lives in Glasgow.”
McKee adds: ‘The infrastructure didn‘t seem to be as good in Edinburgh and a lot of the studios seemed to be closing down. Everything was in flux so you got the feeling that there's a lot of transition happening there. It seemed to be at a different stage while Glasgow seemed to have just come out of that stage.‘
Whether you agree or disagree with the selection. the importance of Scotland‘s presence there is clearly felt. The Scottish Arts Council plans to attend the next three Biennales. ‘We are going to Venice because we want to demonstrate the quality and diversity of work in Scotland.’ says Amanda Catto. head of visual arts at the SAC. ‘I think Scotland already has a reputation internationally but I think our presence there will secure that reputation..
The Venice Biennale opens to the public in Venice, Italy, from 15 June until 2 November. Press days are 12-14 June. For more information log onto www.2enomap.org
News from the world of art
GLASGOW CITY COUNCIL recently announced grants to three art organisations in the city including Glasgow Sculpture Studio which requested financial assistance to relocate from its premises in Maryhill to the Briggait in the Merchant City. The new facilities will allow a higher quality of service to current and potential users and more studio spaces. Mind you, to call it a grant would be incorrect - the council has actually granted an interest free loan of £52,000.
80 WHAT'S HAPPENING AT Edinburgh's Fruitmarket Gallery? On Saturday 15 February. the gallery will reopen with the installation of a new bookshop and the replacement of the building's entire two floors. Made in Brazil, designed and installed by Glasgow-based artist Andrew Miller, is a new gallery bookshop comprising a series of bookcase units. tables and seating in graduated monochromatic tones. A new floor of white American oak wood will replace the original floor built in 1938 as part of the Original fruit and vegetable market building.
Andrew Miller’s Made in Brazil
STAYING WITH THE Fruitmarket, after months of speculation, Fiona Bradley from the Hayward Gallery succeeds Graeme Murray as director of the gallery. APPLICATIONS ARE INVITED for the ROSL Arts Travel Scholarship 2003. Open to artists who are Citizens of the UK. the award will enable the winner to spend a minimum of four weeks in a Commonwealth COuntry or c0untries of their choice. Artists should Submit a maXimum of SIX 35mm colour slides completed Since 1 January 2002 in oil. watercolour. drawing. mixed media. prints. semi-relief or photography and video artists should Submit a five minute VHS tape. Deadline fOr submiSSions is Friday 14 March. Contact: ROSL Arts. Over-Seas HOuse. Park Place. St James's Street. London SW1A 1LR Or phone 020 7408 0214 x324: entail: Culturemlrosl.orgtik
30 Jan—‘13 fret) 90015 THE LIST 83