Friday 12 May
I’m glad my hayfever’s gone. Outside, a steady bloom of spring warmth. 20 degrees tomorrow! I head up Abercromby Street stepping over a massive dog poo by the bus stop, and clock that Spice Grills (kebab shop) has sadly closed down.
Riah has put on an amazing spread: curry, melon, nibbles. Peeling off my jacket, she says, a jumper too?! Well you weren’t to know! Listen Gallery is a labour of love. My eyes twitch in the darkness, staring up at a projection of a palm back-lit in ochre. ‘to yourself’ is a sound installation of shiny layers performed by a laptop—love that. Riah recalls the feedback from her recent unsuccessful Creative Scotland application: ‘be more business’. So she’s put it into the world, see what’s next. Taking a spring roll for the road, I walk through a shady compound of towering student apartments.
I take off my jumper. It’s fucking boiling.
At Eleni Wittbrodt’s show THINGISH, gorgeous peach and lilac sunlight exposure prints on silver gelatin paper are hung with perfect globular silver magnets. Small key hole exposures are peppered around, including inside a ‘Smaller World’, mounted on flat pack furniture bits (am so charmed)—to be returned after the show, hopefully, Eleni tells me. It is elegant, a perfect edit. L and S discuss: if you had to dress in the colours of one meal for the rest of your life what would that meal be?
Taxi south with N too who recalls a recent trip to Easdale Island’s slate pools. Turns out that L has been there to the world stone skimming championships but sadly didn’t qualify. Next championships is 24 September 2023.
As we climb the close stairs, S says, we’re on the tour bus! It’s busy. There’s nothing like the thick heat of bodies at a tenement flat show. It’s like being in the past. One of those evenings where Glasgow feels so itself, eager and ripe. It’s great to be here. ‘House Show’ is by the flat’s tenants, past and present. The programme note by curator (and current tenant) Lillian Ross-Millard invites you to look at its crumbling corners—a typical (landlord-neglected) rental in Govanhill—lovingly tended to by its occupants. I love Matthew Cosslett’s film in a rear-view mirror (how!?) and Paige Silverman’s metal works… but that’s just what I could see through the crowd—speaks for itself!
John Fletcher collapses to the floor, stands, and recites a line that I forget now about one car being like another car under its chassis, between shakily reciting the times tables, whilst changing from regular attire into a sharp suit. (Later: I noted down the word ‘datsui’ here? Not a car. Coincidently means ‘undressing’ in Japanese.) It’s simple, hilarious.
We drift over to Dixon Avenue. Saoirse Wall begins to read prompt cards—a compelling tale about worms coming from nipples and Scully (x-files?). They exit stage right and I spot a little wire wool in the corner. Eek!
Suddenly several people appear carrying domestic receptacles (citrus squeezer, watering can, coffee pot) holding water. Rosie O’Grady reads off lists of disassociated words from her notes app (such pleasurable blobs), and the water bearers begin to fill a glass on top of a stool. tuesday […] soap […] gravel […] canine […] cauldron […] The glass swells, and after much tense giggling, overflows.
Saturday 13 May
Woops forgot about writing! More concerned with dressing for the second sudden consecutive summer evening! I keep my sunglasses on, worried the flashing lights might bring on a migraine but they’re not that flashing. A candle speaks to a night light, which speaks to the ceiling strip lights. I nearly blow it out with a firm puff, the room strobes. Jacob Kassay’s show is called IT. Like Ivory Tars or Stephen King’s clown? Or like Information Technology or like it girl? All of a sudden, when you leave, the party’s down. (1) We grab a few stray stubbies from the plastic flexi tub. I’ve heard people complain they’re sick of standing in galleries reading. (2) IT speaks for itself (sorry). Simplicity, or elegance, is the word of the weekend, and I’m here for it!
Whose story gets told and why is always so arbitrary. (3) Yesterday’s ripeness has spilled into today, it’s the reason why people move here. Friendships are neither completely disinterested nor fully reducible to their use value. (4) Here’s what crosses my path, or here is the church and all the people crowded on Allison Street outside the old herbal vets.
A huge pine desktop clads a wall: ’Admin Fireplace’, Keith Farquhar—for destroying your paperwork? Stupidity, when it is framed correctly, could seem profoundly hilarious. (5) Andy Hayes asks in the exhibition text, do only interesting people get interested? (6) I wouldn’t say I’m not interested, would I say I’m interesting? Why wouldn’t you shove a crushed tab and a Stella into a flat screen monitor (Supervision (No. 1), Torsten Lauschmann). Someone tells us there’s a car (Beige Škoda Octavia numberplate [redacted]) outside with a work in it (Untitled (dogs), Keith Farquhar & Torsten Lauschmann 2023). A few of us lean sideways against the warm metal. The sound of panting bulldogs emits from a JBL speaker resting on top of a collection of conkers by the gear stick. I feel sad for the invisible dogs. A metal tie from a bread bag is crushed into the gap in the front seat. K tries to hide a pint can of Tennents in their rucksack phone pocket.
To grasp a person in all their complexity, then, is impossible. (7) We go to the pub. Someone asks: if you were a character from Succession who would you be? An exhausted ‘Blue Razz Cherry’ Lost Mary blinks discarded at the bottom of a pint of water.
Caitlin Merrett King is a writer and programmer based in Glasgow. She has published writing with Pilot Press, Sticky Fingers and Nothing Personal. Her upcoming novella ‘Always Open Always Closed’ will be published by JOAN this summer.
to yourself: Velvachell. Listen Gallery until 19 May.
THINGISH: Eleni Wittbrodt, Intermedia Gallery, CCA until 3 June.
ONE NIGHT ONLY: Hayley Jane Dawson, Ada Egg Koskiluoma, Gianni Esporas, Rae Halliday, Ross Lindsay, Percy Miranda, Janaki Mistry, Rosie O’Grady, Chris Roberts, Nima Shafiani, Sai Stephenson, Saoirse Wall, Olivia Wiles. 31 Dixon Avenue.
House Show: Ragini Chawla, Matthew Cosslett, Ben Duax, Rosa Farber, Seongsu Kim, Hio Lam Lei, Christof Nüssli, Paige Silverman. 68 Albert Road.
IT: Jacob Kassay. Ivory Tars until 28 June.
#island: Keith Farquhar & Torsten Lauschmann. Broadside until 17 June.
(1) ‘A Century of the New York “It” Girl: 151 women who captured the city’s attention’, 24th April 2023, The Cut
(2) The Importance of Being Iceland, Eileen Myles, 2009, Semiotext(e), p.95
(3) ‘There’s no such thing as a failed collective’, Rhea Dall and Chris Kraus, in Bande à part, Ed. Sarah Demeuse, Rhea Dall, Prem Krishnamurphy, Chris Sharp, Mousse, p.210
(4) On The Benefits of Friendships, Isabelle Graw, 2023, Sternberg Press, p.130
(5) Dall and Kraus, p.211
(6) A Television Upon a Table on a Wall on a Wall, Andy Grace Hayes, 2023
(7) Graw, p.119