VISUAL ART | PREVIEWS & REVIEWS R E V I E W
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: J A M E S M O R G A N
PHOTOGRAPHY OSCAR MARZAROLI Street Level Photoworks, Glasgow, until Sun 15 Mar ●●●●●
The last time Oscar Marzaroli’s iconic black and white images of Glasgow were seen in a major exhibition was in the 1980s, when the dear green place was en route to reinventing itself as culture city. Marzaroli’s iconic depictions of back-street inner-city urchins at play were heroised on the covers of records by Deacon Blue, who sang of the dignity of labour in a city all but razed into rubble. Thirty-odd years on, and with Marzaroli’s archive of more than
50,000 images donated to Glasgow Caledonian University, the 80-plus photographs on show here are given a new layer of poignancy by the distance of time. Most of the images were taken within a short walk from the gallery, but the places and people depicted are pretty much no more. The high rises that loom over a lone Gorbals tenement in ‘The Old and the New’ sets the tone for an array of images depicting half-demolished gable ends, half- built tower blocks and crumbling houses bookending a now empty square, as desolate as the Necropolis beside it.
Marzaroli’s greatest hits are here – ‘The Castlemilk Lads’ and ‘Golden Haired Lass’ – as are the artists: George Wylie and his straw locomotive, a young and glaikit-looking Alasdair Gray, Bill Forsyth and Clare Grogan filming Comfort and Joy, and the original cast of The Steamie. But so too are Barrowland dances and the Clyde Fair. The faces of vulnerable-looking boys are etched with experience beyond their years.
Plus, the Humblebums and Matt McGinn play on Glasgow Green in support of the 1971 Upper Clyde Shipbuilders work-in, Billy Connolly louchely playing his banjo as the others raise their fists in gleeful solidarity, and thousands of Celtic fans at Hampden Park for the 1963 Scottish Cup Final share a limbo of collective anxiety. In this way, Marzaroli’s work goes beyond social-realism to create a haunting visual poetry of a community at work, rest and play. That’s dignity, alright. (Neil Cooper)
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NATURE EXHIBIT TYRANNOSAURS National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, until Mon 4 May
MULTIMEDIA HARDEEP PANDHAL – CONFESSIONS OF A THUG: PAKIVELI Tramway, Glasgow, until Sun 22 Mar GROUP EXHIBITION SEIZED BY THE LEFT HAND Dundee Contemporary Arts, until Sun 22 Mar ●●●●●
If the words ‘Tyrannosaurus rex’ still bring back memories of the car chase in Jurassic Park, you’re not alone. The world’s largest dinosaur has been capturing our imaginations for a very long time. However, this exhibition, created by the Australian Museum, is the most comprehensive ever devoted to the tyrannosaur family and aims to expand our ideas about the world’s most feared dinosaur. T rex might be the most famous tyrannosaur but
there are at least 25 other members of the family, from feathered critters not much bigger than a human to the giant at the top of the prehistoric food chain. This is also one of the hottest areas of palaeontological study, with several new species discovered in the past decade.
Glasgow-based Hardeep Pandhal has attracted increasing attention since graduating from Glasgow School of Art’s MFA course in 2013. Self-Loathing Flashmob, his 2018 exhibition at Kelvin Hall, was one of only a few by local artists in the commissioned programme for Glasgow International. In the same year, he was shortlisted for the Film London Jarman Award, and was included in the prestigious New Museum Triennial in New York. Now, Pandhal becomes the first Glasgow-based artist for some time to be given the run of Tramway 2, Scotland’s biggest exhibition space. He plans to fill it with work across a range of media (film, drawing, sculpture, rap) in his signature street aesthetic, produced with a healthy streak of sardonic humour.
The exhibition promises a mixture of science Born into a Sikh family in Birmingham, Pandhal
and spectacle, from fossils and cutting edge palaeontology to augmented reality experiences where visitors can interact Jurassic Park-style with life-size dinosaurs. The star of the show is Scotty, a large cast taken from one of the biggest and most complete T rex skeletons in the world. The original was found in Saskatchewan, Canada, in 1991, and named after the excavation crew who toasted their discovery with a glass of malt. (Susan Mansfield) tackles the complexities of race and identity in his work with this Tramway show taking as its starting point a piece of pulp fiction from the 1830s, Confessions of a Thug by Philip Meadows Taylor. The word ‘thug’ originated in colonial India and was used for members of a violent sect; but many now believe the group’s activities were sensationalised by the Brits for political reasons. All of this gives Pandhal and his rap alter ego Pakiveli plenty to get their teeth into. (Susan Mansfield)
Evolution, not revolution is the drive behind this Ursula K Le Guin-inspired group show, in which 12 artists take the nod from the sci-fi pioneer’s 1969 novel, The Left Hand of Darkness. This is clear from Tuesday Smillie’s series of painted reproductions of the covers of Le Guin’s novel across assorted editions, addressing shifts in attitudes towards the book. Changes in the landscape are most obviously
apparent in the D’Arcy Thomson Zoology Museum’s collection of marine life specimens of creatures whose biology contradicts prevailing orthodoxies of gender. They’re also apparent in the ever-morphing state of the DCA itself, in which the brilliant white of Gallery 1 gives way to the pulsing utopian warmth of Flora Moscovici’s wall-scape in Gallery 2. Filmmaker Sophia Al-Maria and performer Victoria Sin present a TED Talk in space in ‘BCE’, while the rail of customised blue jeans hung up in Emma Wolf- Haugh’s ‘Domestic Optimism: Soft Furnishings’ tries on various styles for comfort. If Andrew Black’s video ‘Revenge Fantasy’ rips up the rules of Scotland the Brand, the shifting sands of Isaac Julien’s three- minute film, ‘Encore II (Radioactive)’ surfs the show’s over-riding speculation that, in a world of permanent transience, possibilities are infinite. (Neil Cooper)
100 THE LIST 1 Feb–31 Mar 2020