VISUAL ART | Previews
SCULPTURE NICOLAS DESHAYES Glasgow Sculpture Studios, Sun 26 Sep–Sat 12 Dec
London-based artist Nicolas Deshayes has had a recent string of successful exhibitions, commissions and residencies both nationally and internationally, gathering a reputation for combining industrial production methods with elements of human error. He reminds us of the conflict between our desire for a pristine, polished existence and our imperfect, uncontrollable bodies. Most recently he was the Tate St Ives artist-in-residence in 2014, creating new work for their current group exhibition, Images Moving Out Onto Space, where his work features alongside some of the 20thcentury's artistic giants, including Barbara Hepworth and Dan Flavin. Deshayes will produce an entirely new body of commissioned work for this solo exhibition at Glasgow Sculpture Studios. He will present a series of sculptures inspired by radiators, distorting their coils, bulges and folds so they take on a more human quality. The sculptures will be plumbed into the heating system at GSS, allowing heat to travel between them. He has referred to this installation as ‘an anatomy for the space’, connecting his individual sculptures together with the gallery’s internal systems, much like the interconnected organs of the human body. (Rosie Lesso)
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WATERCOLOUR ARTHUR MELVILLE Scottish National Gallery, Sat 10 Oct–Sun 17 Jan
An apprentice grocer in East Lothian in the 1860s who gave up his job to study art, Arthur Melville went on to become one of the great artist- adventurers of the Victorian age, and the most radical Scottish artist of his generation.
Perhaps because, at first glance, his works look traditional, as does his choice of medium (watercolour), Melville’s achievements are somewhat under-celebrated today. A major exhibition of his work at the Scottish National Gallery this autumn, the first for 35 years, aims to put the record straight. Melville studied in Paris and loved Spain, where
he painted many important works, but he didn’t stop there. In the early 1880s, he crossed North Africa and the Middle East. Curator Charlotte Topsfield says: ‘He really went off the beaten track. He was attacked by robbers in the desert and left for dead – it’s the stuff of adventures.’
Melville’s travels inspired him to invent new techniques in watercolour, painting with gouache on to wet paper. And though this radical approach attracted criticism from traditionalists during his lifetime, he was influential on the contemporary artists of his day, including the Glasgow Boys. (Susan Mansfield)
90 THE LIST 3 Sep–5 Nov 2015
PHOTOGRAPHY DOCUMENT SCOTLAND – THE TIES THAT BIND Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh, Sat 26 Sep–Sun 24 Apr One of the main legacies of the 2014 Scottish Referendum will be the multitude of images that document the passions and the pains of the country’s most pivotal political moment of the 21st century so far. With this in mind, it’s only fitting that some kind of collective response is gathered.
MIXED MEDIA THE SHOCK OF VICTORY CCA, Glasgow, until Sat 1 Nov Featuring artists from Scotland, Northern Ireland, Palestine and Greece, The Shock of Victory uses the first anniversary of the independence referendum to create a dialogue about political change. Consisting of an exhibition, a symposium and a digital publication, the programme looks beyond activist tactics, trying to imagine what ‘victory’ would mean through artistic practices.
Step up photographers Colin McPherson, Jeremy Scotland’s post-referendum reality is mapped in
Sutton-Hibbert, Sophie Gerrard and Stephen McLaren, who as Document Scotland have pulled together some images of Scotland and its people from the front line to commemorate the first anniversary of this seismic event. A collection such as this reminds us how
documentary photography is so evocative of moments great and small, as the human hearts behind those moments are framed in a way that both historicises and mythologises them in the best senses of both words.
Edinburgh-based poet and artist Alec Finlay’s A Better Tale to Tell, a found poem drawn from public responses to the Smith Commission on devolution. ‘Smith was a kind of mass observation project for our era – 12,000 plus letters, all forgotten about and ignored, and yet they are, in many ways, the true history,’ says Finlay. ‘What I wanted to preserve, and show respect for, was the registers of all those written voices, all of these people seeking to express themselves . . . there’s humour and sadness, hesitancy, ambition, and desire.
While a patina of politics is inherent in such an ‘In their letters “The People” went further than
undertaking as The Ties That Bind, there is no polemic here. The artists showcase a range of viewpoints that hang together in a style that goes some way towards capturing the messy diversity of a mongrel nation in flux. (Neil Cooper) Smith, because people are now ahead of the political class and the parties. I don’t think it matters that their views are still divided; the language itself shows a new politics is now possible, and required.’ (Stewart Smith)
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