GLASGOW INTERNATIONALKatrina Brown, director of Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art, talks about this year’s programme
I hesitate to use the word unique, but there is something unarguably distinctive about the GI Festival: not quite a conventional biennial, despite taking place every two years, nor simply a ‘fleeting event’ festival. Taking place over two frenetic weeks, it is a more event-like creature than a biennial, and has many curatorial voices rather than one: the programme being comprised of both a curated programme and of numerous exhibitions and projects conceived and produced by a whole range of visual arts organisations across the city. Yet within its programme are a number of more ‘static’ exhibitions that run beyond the Festival, some into September. It’s a format that seems to allow Glasgow to play to its strengths and foregrounds its very particular energy.
This year’s Festival takes place across the now familiar array of spaces and places in the city, from major museums and regular contemporary art venues to temporary sites and locations. For the first time it extends to Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum, where David Shrigely will show a group of new sculptures and related objects in a specially commissioned installation: his first exhibition in Glasgow for over a decade.
For this outing of the Festival—my first as Director—we have been working around the theme of ‘past, present, future’. This was in part suggested by prevalent trends in contemporary art practice of recent years and in part by the fact that 2010 is the 20th anniversary of Glasgow’s reign as European Capital of Culture, which seemed to offer an interesting moment to look back—and, we hope, forward.
So much contemporary work has taken existent material as its starting point: whether film, found artifacts, design or architecture, the processes of re-enactment, reconstruction and re-use are widespread. Elsewhere, other artists have looked more at how societies envisage or speculate about the future. Two key examples of the latter that will be at the heart of the Festival are David Maljkovic and Gerard Byrne both of whom will be showing in a fantastic temporary venue on Miller Street in the Merchant City, itself a reflection of the theme, fusing as it does buildings old and new. NVA are contributing a brilliant example of the use of re-enactment with its ‘White Bikes Plan’ which re-creates a Dutch anarchist action from the late 60s to provide free bicycles: the precursor of many a civic cycle scheme today.
There is a particularly strong range of work to be found across all of the spaces at Tramway: Christoph Büchel, Keren Cytter (both showing in Scotland for the first time) and our own Douglas Gordon (showing in Glasgow for the first time in too long) as well as a busy programme of screenings and a symposium. And alongside so much work made in our current decade, with the Hunterian Art Gallery and Artist Rooms we will be presenting a remarkable selection of unique works on papers and sculptures by one of the twentieth century’s most enduringly resonant and influential figures: Joseph Beuys.
Among all this there are events a-plenty, with the fantastic and unquestionably unique Linder at the Arches, presented by Sorcha Dallas Gallery; Three Blows will present a magical night by Kim Coleman and Jenny Hogarth at the magnificent Sloans Ballroom; and every evening during the Festival there will be dada-esque goings on at ‘Le Drapeau noir ’, a temporary café / club orchestrated by Raydale Dower. Find the map or sign up at www.glasgowinternational.org to be sure not to miss a thing.
Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art, 16 April–3 May JOSH BRANDJosh brand gives an artist’s perspective on the exhibition in the up coming Whitney Biennial.
I’ve been living in New York for about seven years, so I like to see this show as connection to the whole experience of being here–you’re always walking through the history of art and music and writing and everything that people have created here. So much of the most intense American art of the last 100 years has happened here. I guess the Biennial is supposed to be a summary or marker of a discrete moment in American art, but I think about it more in terms of how it relates to this continuum. The idea of ‘now’ is not something you can separate from the influence of the past. Time is always mixed up and our sense of the present is coloured by parts of the past we use as a preface or context for a narrative about what is happening now.
Through the whole of the past century there have been these amazing, overlapping, interlocking histories and trajectories of people making things in New York. Its rich history is really romantic and present all the time. This history of how people live and make stuff here has a subliminal influence on your habits and friendship. Everything you do is something a positive creative activity—from having a shitty day job in a photo lab, to listening to music, to hanging out in the park. It’s somehow really natural to feel a sense of participation into this continuity. So I guess being in the Biennial is more formal and dramatic way of acknowledging that I am passing through this history—a kind of romantic marker of time and geography.
I would probably feel differently about the whole thing if it weren’t for the fact that I have a close friend in the show. I’ve known Richard Aldrich since before I moved here—we have been in a band together for a long time. Both of us being in the show makes it easier to think that it has some natural connection to my everyday life. The pictures I’m showing are a little more autobiographical than things I’ve shown in the past—there are always objects from my domestic life that show up in obliquely, or are translated in some way into the pictures, but here they are maybe more clearly present.Whitney Biennial, New York, 25 February–30 May 2010 Curator Kathrin Rhonberg commissions work which will be seen in the artists’ countries of production
As a prelude to the 6th Berlin Biennale, the project Artists Beyond consists of international events staged by the Berlin Biennale in cooperation with different institutions in seven European countries. Artists Beyond focuses on the creative processes and actual artistic production of seven artists—Mark Boulos, Phil Collins, Marcus Geiger, Nilbar Güres, Petrit Halilaj, Thomas Locher, and Marie Voignier. The central concern of the project is to open up proction processes to local audiences in each of teh seven countries, offering insights into artistic research and work at the sites of production. So, for example, Nilbar Güres will introduce her work to the Istanbul publicin the space Platform Garanti. There will also be a seminar by Thomas Locher at the Art Academy of Copenhagen and Marie Voignier will give a talk at the Centre of d’art contemporain de Brétigny.
This year’s biennale also brings together many artistic positions on teh contemporary present in multiple locations in Berlin, among them KW Institute for Contemporary Art and a venue in teh Berlin quarter of Kreuzberg. Michael Schmidt’s photographic works will be shown through out the whole biennial, while the event itself is contextualised by an exhibition with works by Adolph Menzel (1815-1905), at our invitation and in cooperaton with the Alte Nationalgalerie and the Kupferstichkabinett of the the National Museums in Berlin.
The biennale will raise urgent questions abour our present time. I want it to speak of the cracks in the reality, about the gap between the world that is talked about and the world that is actually there. And also to ask why we have these distinctions and self-decptions, why we have a fictional arsenal of mass media and consumptionm and about the rhetorics of distraction and pacification.
My approach is actually to look less at highlights and nourish anticipation. Following the question of urgenciesm there will be very subtle but also disturbing interventions leading to another wasy of imagining our future.
6th Berlin Biennale, 11 June–8 August
ART IN THE 21ST CENTURY
Chisenhale Gallery director Polly Staple launches a dynamic new events programme
21st Century is a year-long research-based programme of talks, film screenings, publication launches, small-scale curated projects and performances. Presented as once monthly evening events in our adjunct studio space, 21st Century supports emerging artists, writers, critics and theorists. The programme offers, in many cases, the first public platform for these individuals, while also giving more established practitioners the opportunity to present developing projects in an informal environment.
On 26 January, artists Manuela Gernedel and Morag Keil kicked off the programme. The event was great, and about 70 people crammed into a small space—a good thing since the studio/gallery has minimal heating and it’s freezing in London at the moment. Manuela and Morag are both ex-students of mine from the Chelsea Fine Art MA. I offered them the space for the night and they put together a programme comprising film screenings and performances by their friends and associates, including: Anna McCarthy’s film ‘Bored Rebel in Oberpfaffenhofen’, 2009; a charming welcome speech by Hank Schmidt i.d. Beek accompanied by lute; a 1999 film from the legendary Glasgow female art collective Elizabeth Go; a selection of decorative pillows by Yngve Holen and Marlie Mul; and an accompanying text ‘I Need You Tonight’ by John Harrington, which referenced the lyrics of INXS: ‘It’s just me, myself and I but three’s a crowd and all we got is this moment, the 21st Century’s yesterday. I need to work on the rest of the play but how do you create something from nothing, how do you invent an event?’ The evening culminated in ‘She do the policeman in different voices’, a stunningly raw performance by Cara Tolmie singing ‘Caledonia’.
In February Aleksandra Mir will introduce a rare screening of her 2004 film ‘Organised Movement’. Three experimental art writing workshops will be led by Sarah Tripp, Will Holder and Melanie Gilligan in response to our exhibition programme, and participants from Goldsmiths’ MFA in art writing will present their work on the 15 May event.
We are witnessing both a shift in formal preoccupations and activities of our core audience of artists and art professionals, both locally and internationally. The desire to initiate this programme was to be flexible and have a rapid response in contrast to the long-term planning of Chisenhale exhibitions. 21st Century diversifies what we do—it allows us to be light on our feet. For programme info see www.chisenhale.org.uk
STILLS RESIDENCIESDirector Deirdre MacKenna discusses a new phase of international artist residency opportunities
Edinburgh’s Stills opens its doors to new groups of artists in 2010 as we embark on a new chapter of artistic exchanges working with a network of partners from Italy, Germany, the Middle East, and North Africa Over the past ten years our residency model has evolved to support artists based in Scotland to undertake sustained period of research and tailored skills-based training. Success has come from offering an open model where the opportunity to experiment and make use of Stills’ networks of curators, writers, artists, and technical experts is tailored to each artist’s needs.
This year we will continue to work with artists based in Scotland, while launching our new annual residency programme in summer (join our mailing list to be kept up-to-date with application procedures, www.stills.org). We are also looking forward to welcoming Katharina Kiebacher to Stills to develop her ambitious new project as part of the RSA Residency scheme and to Ilana Halperin presenting her work in Milan as part of Fondazione Pomodoro’s ARS International Residency exhibition in May.
The nomadic working practices of contemporary artists has inspired us to explore possibilities around developing new programmes and partnerships internationally: in 2009 we presented newly commissioned works by Elín Jakobsdóttir as part of Cologne Contemporaries following an invitation from Regina Barunke and Lilian Haberer from Projects in Art and Theory. Spring 2010 we launch our new partnership with Fondazione Fotografia, Modena in Italy, selecting two groups of artists: one drawn from recent graduates of Scottish art schools invited to take part in a major survey exhibition involving 13 countries, “International Departure Gate’. The second will be a residency opportunity for three artists and one curator in Modena during October and November as part of a cultural exchange exploring local identity.
Finally, talks are underway with a number of artists and curators and organisations in the Middle East and North Africa aimed at bringing additional opportunities, perspectives, and cultural legacies to our network for artists.
Elín Jakobsdóttir, Hinges between Days, Stills, Edinburgh 7 November 2009–14 March 2010