KENNY HUNTER: GIRL WITH A
Cumberland Street, the Gorbals, Glasgow
She’s dangling in the blustery wind by a big hook that holds the young girl precariously over her final resting place - St Catherine’s Square, the Gorbals, Glasgow. Girl with a Rucksack, Kenny Hunter’s sculpture made for this nucleus of Glasgow redevelopment, bears the vulnerable indignity with calm forbearing. All bound up in bubble wrap and masking tape, her head peers out, eyes staring down the street, where they will gaze for years to come. ‘Kenny, shall we turn her around?’ ask the installers from Ron Boyd Haulage and Crane Hire. ‘That way a wee bit.’ She’s looking towards Blackfriars Primary School, beyond some of the impressive new housing towards a group of older, more forbidding tower blocks. ‘She represents endurance. It’s the spirit I wanted to give her,’ says Kenny as he looks on with a few nerves
while his labour of love sways 15ft above the pavement. ‘The sculpture deals with migration in
and out of the Gorbals - it’s part of the area’s history with architectural flux and people having to evacuate, then come back in. It’s a permanent monument to movement.’ The woman who posed for the sculpture was living in the Gorbals but, ﬁttingly, perhaps, has since moved away. Girl with a Rucksack is part of a wider project
organised by Artworks, which commissions
The Lamp of Sacrifice, 286 Places of Worship, Edinburgh
MIXED MEDIA NATHAN COLEY
The Fruitmarket Gallery, Until 18 July 0...
Architecture can sometimes seem dull and innocuous. Not so if you are Nathan Coley. In his first major solo show in Scotland (he belongs to the same generation of internationally recognised Glasgow School of Art Graduates as Douglas Gordon and Christine Borland and so is better known abroad) Coley continues his investigation into the political and social tension beneath the surface of our built environment. Pigeon Lofts, one of the earliest pieces in the show, is a tongue-in-cheek slide presentation which contrasts images of the rickety vernacular architecture of hammered together pigeon lofts with a voice-over by what sounds like a cheesy sales rep trying to flog us a conservatory. Lockerbie, produced as a result of Coley’s stint as unofficial artist-in-residence at the trial
84 THE LIST 24 Jun—8 Jul 2004
of the two Libyans accused of bombing the Pan Am ﬂight over Lockerbie in 1988, is more darkly ironic. By creating an exact replica of the witness box - a piece of bulky furniture imbued with the role of eliciting the ‘truth’ — and displaying it alongside copies of the ‘evidence’, Coley quietly demonstrates that there is more than one version of the truth. But the knockout work in the show takes its cue from a comment by John Ruskin about architecture requiring sacrifice. In response, Coley has filled most of the top floor gallery with cardboard models of the 286 places of worship listed in the Edinburgh Yellow Pages. The models have been painstakingly cut out, folded and glued to create a pleasing ecclesiastical toy town. By miniaturising a less secular age’s architectural celebrations of the Almighty, Coley raises big questions for which there are no definitive answers. It’s potent stuff. (Kate Tregaskis)
public art for the area as part of a scheme called Percent for Art. It’s an initiative that asks for a commitment of one per cent of developers’ money for public art. Seven architects have worked with seven artists so that by September, mechanical birds will be in position above four doorways, an orchard will be bearing fruit and one new housing block will boast individual art
Easy does it. G
irl with a Rucksack finds her feet
works for each flat. But Kenny’s is the first. By the time you read this she will be fully installed and unwrapped with one of her feet overlapping the plinth, forever about to set off down the road. And as she sits on her final perch, a little girl hurries past on her way to school with a rucksack on her back. It looks like she’ll fit into her new surroundings just fine. (Ruth Hedges)
by Mungo Campbell
For ten years. one of my tasks as a
curator in the Print Room at the National
Gallery of Scotland was to spend the few days between Christmas and New Year making preparations for the annual Turner watercolour exhibition. This view holds many personal memories and. in the winter gloom. the vast panorama of the Tweed and the Eildon Hills. was a wonderful breath of Summer in the Borders. Measuring some tour by six inches. the tiny dimensions of Melrose only serve to accentuate the sense of enormous scale conjured by Turner.
But this brilliantly-hued work represents far more than a glorious view. In the foreground. his back to us. drawing. sits Turner himself. Next to him is Sir Walter Scott. At Scott's side is the writer's publisher. Robert Cadell (from whose diary comes our account of Turner‘s visit to Abbotsford). Scott. nearing the end of his life. Turner at the height of his powers; both men with the colossal European popular reputations shared only by a select few in the early 19th century. They held as great a mutual respect for each other's creative powers as they were suspicious of their respective motives. What brought them together on this glorious August day in 1831 was the rapidly expanding commercial enterprise of publishing technology; Turner's watercolour was a means to an end: the bejewelled original from which the engraver would produce a tiny steel plate — the frontispiece to a new edition of Scott's The Lay of the Last Minstrel. A work of art with an intellectual scale to match the visual vastnesses within it.
Mungo Campbell is deputy director of the Hunter/an Museum and Art Gallery. Turner '3 Melrose can be seen by request at any time of the year at the National Gallery of Scotland. Edinburgh, and is on annual display in January