exterior-view

Polygraphs is a group exhibition exploring truth, fiction and evidence in a complicated world. Centred around Abstract (2012), a two-channel video work by Berlin based filmmaker and writer Hito Steyerl, gifted to Glasgow Museums’ collection last year, the exhibition is drawn entirely from Glasgow Museums’ collection.

steyerl-installation

Abstract, 2012 Hito Steyerl Two channel HD video with sound 7 minutes, 30 seconds Image CC 4.0 Hito Steyerl Image courtesy of the Artist and Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York

Artists are often witness to a changing global environment and their role within that culture is to document, ask questions and create layers of meaning to engage audiences with current international discourses. Thus, Abstract provides a frame through which to encounter other artists interested in interrogating dominant historical narratives and our relationships to the arms trade, colonialism, the slave trade and feminism.

Polygraphs reflects GoMA’s long-standing interest in research and evidence based documentary artworks. The exhibition includes works from the last 100 years and poses questions about the relationship of museums to the histories, identities and politics that they represent. By re-displaying older works alongside more recent pieces the exhibition reactivates truths and fictions still relevant today.

cybercrannog

cybercrannog

The resource space and public programme for Polygraphs has been developed in conjunction with graphic designer Neil McGuire and Cyber-Crannog

Note: Abstract was presented by the Contemporary Art Society through the Collections Fund, 2015. It marks the first work by Hito Steyerl to enter a public collection in the UK

ARTISTS: Jane Evelyn Atwood, Muirhead Bone, Boyle Family, Gerard Byrne, Graham Fagen, Hans-Peter Feldmann, Beth Forde, Alasdair Gray, Ian Hamilton Finlay, David Hockney, Wyndham Lewis, Peter Kennard, kennardphillips, Barbara Kruger, Scott Myles, Anthony Schrag and Hito Steyerl

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disco10

 

On Saturday 10 December 2016 to mark International Human Rights Day 2016 and the end of the UN 16 Days to Eliminate Violence Against Women, GoMA worked with the artist Mandy McIntosh on her work International Human Rights Day Disco.

For International Human Rights day, the Studio at GoMA will become a discotheque, literally a library of records, DJ-ed by Artex Scar AKA Mandy McIntosh, The Mighty Bass Warrior Sound System and Mungos Hi Fi . The aim was to create a social space for listening and dancing. A Tramalfadorean timeline of the human grooves that stir/red us to strike/march/donate/knit/embrace/dance/reject/become.

For Mandy this work came out of the radical roots of disco. “From the direct actions of Swingjugend amd Zazous, who danced to “degenerate” swing jazz in the face of Nazi oppression, to the Rock Against Racism movement of the 70s and 80s, music has always provided a social, structural or lyrical counterpoint to attacks on Human Rights. Records can act as a transmission of political information or reinforcements of unity. They can also illustrate what human beings want to happen within an echoing epoque and transfer to us where we feel most ourselves.” Mandy McIntosh 2016

A massive massive thanks to everyone who brought their joy, kindness and dancing feet and joined us on the afternoon for conversation, listening to the music and dancing til the sun went down. We loved and and are already planning next year’s one!

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Installation shot from Poppies, a collaboration between Max Brand and Joanne Robertson

Installation shot from Poppies, a collaboration between Max Brand and Joanne Robertson

(GoMA) presents the debut collaboration between Max Brand (b. 1982, Leipzig) and Joanne Robertson (b. 1979, Manchester). The exhibition features new painting and sculpture by these exciting, emerging contemporary artists, together with a musical work co-produced in the lead-up to the exhibition’s opening.

The show brings together two international painters, who also work as musicians. Central to the exhibition is Brand and Robertson’s desire to ‘expand’ traditional media. They paint directly onto the wall and floor, as well as displaying huge wall hung canvases, floor sculptures and hanging lights, all accompanied by a sound installation. This approach transforms painting from something restricted within a frame to something resistant to containment. Visitors can expect bright, energetic works that appear to have exploded across the gallery space.

Joanne Robertson has been working in Glasgow having previously studied at the Glasgow School of Art. She is well-known in the city for the important role she has played in its art and music scene for many years. Her work has previously been shown in the city at CCA and Mary Mary gallery. This is the first time Brand’s work has gone on display in Glasgow/ Scotland.

Poppies offers a rich and immersive experience, overlaying the visual elements with a soundtrack specially commissioned to feature in the exhibition. Poppies explores how contemporary art in Glasgow continues to grow and evolve, considering how art transcends different mediums in the same exhibition.

Speaking about the project, curator of contemporary art, Paul Pieroni said: “It’s very exciting to open up GoMA to artists like Max and Jo. As they’re working together for the first time, I expect something fresh and bold to come from them. I think the unpredictability of new collaborations is important. We’re proud to place our faith in these two artists, to give them the space and time to work towards something unique for the museum.”

John Samson '1978 - 1983' installation shot

John Samson ‘1978 – 1983’ installation shot

John Samson: ‘1975–1983’
18 September 2016–17 April 2017

‘1975–1983’ presents the complete works of enigmatic Scottish filmmaker, John Samson (1946–2004). This is the first museum exhibition of the five films Samson made during his lifetime.

A worker on the Clyde shipyards, as a teenager Samson was involved in various protest movements. He was a spokesperson for Glasgow shipyard apprentices and in 1961 was arrested at the Holy Loch for participation in a Committee of 100 anti-nuclear action. In 1963, after meeting his partner Linda, then studying painting at The Glasgow School of Art, Samson fell in with a bohemian circle including artists, writers and musicians. He taught himself guitar, took up photography, and by the mid-70s began the cycle of films featured in this exhibition.

Samson’s working class roots, his passionate interest in radical politics, art and bohemia, compelled him towards individuals and groups operating at the margins of society. Covering topics such as tattooing, amateur railway enthusiasm, clothing fetishism, professional darts and the sex lives of disabled people, Samson’s films are concerned with cultural outsiders. Despite courting controversy, he was always compassionate in his curiosity. Samson’s work is about allowing unusual people to speak for themselves; carefully observing – but not judging – their conspicuous lives.

‘1975–1983’ comprises all five of Samson’s films: Tattoo (1975), Dressing for Pleasure (1977), Britannia (1978), Arrows (1979) and The Skin Horse (1983). It also features a commissioned graphic project by Stockholm-based designers Martin Falck and Alexey Layfurov.

Tattoo (1975) A documentary film based on the art of tattooing, tattoo artists and their clients, with interviews exploring the fascination for, and the reasons behind, choosing to be tattooed. The film builds up to long climactic scene, often since replicated in other films on the subject, featuring tattooed bodies displayed as art objects. Typical of his involvement in his projects, Samson had himself tattooed during the making of the film.

Dressing for Pleasure (1977) explores the subject of fetishism in clothing. The film, which, despite its subject matter, remains playful and light, features cameos from Malcolm McLaren and punk icon Jordan, as well as a host of other curious characters.

Britannia (1978) A group of volunteers work on the restoration of an old locomotive. This unashamedly poetic piece draws strongly on the theme of resurrection as Britannia rises like a phoenix from the ashes of its desolate resting place.

Arrows (1979) is a film about Eric Bristow and the world of competitive darts. In Bristow, already successful and self-assured in his early 20s, Samson finds a compelling figure through which he explores a sport as well as a specific period of British social life and culture.

The Skin Horse (1983) is a ground-breaking a film about sex and disability that won Samson much acclaim. An exploration of body image and identity, The Skin Horse pulls no punches and remains as powerful as ever.

Thanks to Robin and Linda Samson, the Estate of John Samson, Mike Wallington, National Film and Television School, Laurence Myers, Kamila Kuc and Andrew Tullis.

Installation shot of 'Deep in the Heart of Your Brain' with the works Deep in the Heart of Your Brain is a Lever, Pose Work for Sisters and Studio 1995, Jacqueline Donachie, photo Ruth Clark

Installation shot of ‘Deep in the Heart of Your Brain’ with the works Deep in the Heart of Your Brain is a Lever, Pose Work for Sisters and Studio 1995, Jacqueline Donachie, photo Ruth Clark

As we enter the closing weeks of Jacqueline Donachie’s exhibition Deep in the Heart of Your Brain, it is your last chance to see the exhibition and we are delighted to share details of the remaining public events in our exciting engagement programme.

tom-shakespeare-publication-in-john-samson-1978-83

Wednesday 26th October 2016, 6.30 – 7.45pm GoMA
Jacqueline Donachie in conversation with Professor Tom Shakespeare

This event will examine the role of creative arts in exploring and understanding the challenges that disability and genetics pose to individuals and families.  In particular, the discussion will reference the passage of time that relates to Donachie’s exhibition, and the film Skin Horse (1983), currently in the John Samson exhibition in Gallery 1. Tom Shakespeare recently re-visited eight of the participants in his 1996 book, The Sexual Politics of Disability, who now feel that their disability has become less salient, more akin to the general effects of ageing seen in the wider population. Yet with degenerative conditions, the disability becomes more prominent in the individual’s own biography. Art and social research can both tell these stories, but art captures the imagination and enables reflection, in ways that academic work rarely does.

Tom Shakespeare is professor of disability research at UEA.  He has written extensively on disability rights and bioethics and is author of ‘Disability Rights and Wrongs’ and ‘Genetic Politics: from eugenics to genome’ among other books and articles.  He was formerly a member of Arts Council England, and has curated three different science/ art exhibitions around the social and ethical impacts of the life sciences, as well as making work himself.

 

Installation shot of 'Hazel (2016), Jacqueline Donachie, photo Ruth Clark.

Installation shot of ‘Hazel (2016), Jacqueline Donachie, photo Ruth Clark.

4 November 2016, Day Symposium
(10am – 4.30pm, Platform. Transport provided from Glasgow city centre).

This day symposium will provide an opportunity to discuss in depth some of the issues raised by Donachie’s exhibition Deep in the Heart of Your Brain.

By taking the theme of expert culture and participation and examining this through a prism of ethics and academic practice, the symposium will look at lived experience as a model for radical practice to challenge social constructs around scientific and medical research, and knowledge exchange.  Can auto-ethnographic and participative art practice increase our understanding of disability and care in the fields of genetics, inherited disability and ageing? What is the role of lived experience within both creative practice and academic research, and how can the effects on participants be assessed, and valued?

Speakers come from a range of academic and artistic backgrounds, and each has been asked to address in some way the effects of their practice on specific communities of interest.

They include Jacqueline Donachie, Karen Guthrie, Jason E Bowman and Professor Sarah Cunningham-Burley. The day will be chaired by Alison Stirling, with a narrative commentary provided by Moira Jeffrey.

Deep in the Heart of Your Brain: the symposium has been supported by a Wellcome Trust Arts Award, The Marigold Foundation and Glasgow Life.

To book a ticket for the symposium please use this link: The Symposium https://platform-online.ticketsolve.com/#/shows/873563814

Information in PDF format here final-events-pdf

Greetings from Lanesville (still), 1976

Greetings from Lanesville (still), 1976

 

Please Turn Us On
28 July 2016 – 22 January 2017
Arthur Ginsberg with Video Free America
Heather Phillipson
Stansfield/Hooykaas
Videofreex

Please Turn Us On places Glasgow at the centre of a dialogue between early video art and international counterculture. Stansfield/Hooykaas’ What’s It To You? is presented in direct conversation with three other projects that play on themes explored in this seminal, Glasgow-made work.

Elsa Stansfield (b. Glasgow, 1945, d. Amsterdam, 2004) and Madelon Hooykaas (b. Maartensdijk, 1942) worked at the genesis of time-based practice, with the pair quick to realise the potential of video as an art form and as a communication tool. Shown at Glasgow’s The Third Eye Centre for a week in 1975, What’s It To You? was the first installation of its kind ever to be seen in Glasgow. During its original showing the work combined recorded and live film with photography and text. It was truly an interactive work, with audience engagement at its very core. The public’s changing responses to being filmed and questioned gave the work a different meaning with each viewing.

Using a combination of media to offer multiple readings of the work became a staple throughout Stansfield/Hooykaas’ rich career. Keen not to have the authoritative voice within their work, rather they attempted to use new video tape technology to break down social hierarchies and democratise the act of looking at and making artworks. It was through these means that What’s It To You? put Glasgow in communication with other counterculture movements across the globe.

Similarly dynamic projects were taking place across America. In Greetings from Lanesville Videofreex brought their brand of guerrilla broadcasting to Upstate New York. Their Lanesville TV was the first localised, pirate television station in the world. It featured interviews with the rural community, audience phone-ins and dramatic news reports. Videofreex helped to create a portrait of the local community, made by the local community. This happened at a time of great social and political turmoil, when many people didn’t feel like their attitudes were being fairly represented by traditional media. Lanesville TV offered a much-needed alternative voice and paved the way for modern, user-generated broadcasting.

As Stansfield/Hooykaas and Videofreex worked with our shared public experiences, The Continuing Story of Carel and Ferd anticipated the camera’s ability to enter into the most personal parts of our lives. Between 1970 and 1972 director Arthur Ginsberg filmed the not-so-average daily lives of soon-to-be-wed Carel Rowe and Ferd Eggan. This precursor to reality television documents the couple’s changing desires and the drastic evolution of their relationship while living their lives in front of the camera. It is an early warning about the risks of living too close to an electronic medium.

Running through the exhibition is a new commission by London-based artist Heather Phillipson, bringing the issues raised by Stansfield/Hooykaas, Videofreex and Arthur Ginsberg into the contemporary. By focusing the historical elements of Please Turn Us On through her work, Phillipson suggests that despite the current ubiquitousness of personal filming equipment our understanding of its consequences hasn’t developed all that much in the last four decades.

Installation shot from 'Deep in the Heart of Your Brain' (2016) Jacqueline Donachie, photo Ruth Clark

Installation shot from Deep in the Heart of Your Brain (2016) Jacqueline Donachie, photo Ruth Clark

Deep in the Heart of Your Brain
Jacqueline Donachie
Gallery 4
20 May – 13 November 2016

Deep in the heart of your brain is a lever/ Deep in the heart of your brain is a switch
Radio Ethiopia, Patti Smith Band, Arista Records 1976

My conversation with Jacqueline Donachie began in 2011, when the gallery was examining questions around health, play and wellbeing. I was open to what the relationship with the artist might be, but interested in the development of her collaborations with scientists and how that informed her work in public spaces or the gallery setting. As our discussions developed it became apparent that there was an excellent opportunity to work with Donachie at the culmination of her PHD where she had spent considerable time reflecting on her practice in this medical and scientific realm, alongside realising ambitious new artworks. Our interest or ‘mutual curiosity’ we had about how artists and art institutions inform research and lead collaborations with medical academics and institutions inspired the thread that runs through the exhibition, the learning programme and the symposium. It is a curiosity that we hoped would engage visitors in the gallery and contribute to a current wider discourse on art and science.

Since 2002, Jacqueline Donachie has worked with a range of scientific and medical professionals in collaborative processes to produce new ideas and artworks. This significant solo show with GoMA, includes sculpture and drawings made in the last five years alongside new commissioned works developed from a period of research with a group of women affected by an inherited genetic condition, made in collaboration with the UK Myotonic Dystrophy Patient Registry at The John Walton Muscular Dystrophy Research Centre in Newcastle.

Installation shot of 'Hazel (2016), Jacqueline Donachie, photo Ruth Clark.

Installation shot of Hazel (2016), Jacqueline Donachie, photo Ruth Clark.

Central to the exhibition is the new film work Hazel, a powerful three screen installation that directly connects the experiences of the participants – all sister sets, where one sibling has inherited the myotonic dystrophy gene and one has not – to a wider discussion around relationships, age and appearance. Edited from interviews with the siblings, the film doesn’t seek to present a literal case study representing an unknown research question. Instead Donachie asserts the role of artist in the editing the work. The unaffected sister is silent. The women talking discuss different aspects of their lived experiences with myotonic dystrophy. The viewer is drawn into a space where they encounter and listen to these edited interviews, but have more questions provoked than answers provided. Hazel is a portrait, not just of the women portrayed, but also of a wider lived experience we can all relate to through our own experiences of ageing, care and loss.

Artists working with their own lived experiences and relationships in their work is not unusual. Glasgow Museums has significant holdings of work in the collection by Jo Spence, who documented and commented on her relationships with her mother, her own body and experience of breast cancer through her photographs. However, while Donachie is present in her work (Studio 1995 and Pose Work for Sisters) she is also chooses not make herself the subject of the exhibition. The portraits she alludes to in her work are seen in relationship to the urban environment we inhabit and observations of materials and structures we use to navigate that space. Human scale is played with in the drawings (Glimmer I –V) and sculptures (Winter Trees and Headphones, Music, Boats and Trains). The selection of lampposts and streetlights for the drawings is an observation on the urban, everyday object’s elegance and relationship to the human body. They are tall and elegant, echoing the portraits in Studio 1995, where Donachie was posing and photographing herself against a white background (these works were shown photocopied and on billboards). But they equally have kinks and bends which could be a ‘neck not able to hold up or a back trying to straighten’ *. The Glimmer series of drawings and their pose are reflected in the Winter Trees sculpture series, which similarly examine the urban, our human relationship to it and the pose.

The sculptures, stark in their choice of materials: industrial, practical and immovable, have very emotive and poetic titles playing on boundaries between the external public experience and the often internal lived experiences. The Winter Trees title is taken from a Sylvia Plath poem alluding to moments of care when you are awake outside of your normal routine hours and start to see the landscape and environment around you in different ways. Deep in the Heart of Your Brain is a Lever as a title is taken from the lyrics of a Patti Smith song and refers to moments of feeling trapped by life and motherhood, a sentiment reflected in the scale, slick black finish and immovable nature of the sculpture.

For me the reflection on public [urban/industrial] and private [domestic/poetic] runs through Donachie’s work: whether in the materials she uses (scaffolding, aluminium plates, washing lines, repurposed clothing and threads) or the research (scientific findings, published research and personal testimonies). The use of materials and her research are distilled through a particular curiosity in how to present this as artworks in different contexts (parks, streets and galleries). Her railings sculptures have one presence in the public environment, where they are competing with everything around them, which shifts when Nice Style is isolated in the gallery.

Installation shot from 'Deep in the Heart of Your Brain' (2016) Jacqueline Donachie, photo Ruth Clark

Installation shot from Deep in the Heart of Your Brain (2016) Jacqueline Donachie, photo Ruth Clark

Deep in the Heart of Your Brain is at first glance a stark, confident and monochromatic show interrupted by a drawn orange gesture leading, or diverting you, through the space. But spend some time there and viewed through the prism of the works Hazel, Studio 1995 and Pose Work for Sisters it reveals poetic reflections on playfulness, relationships, care and lived experience – when that lever must be applied.

Katie Bruce
Producer Curator, GoMA

* Interview with the artist May 2016

The ambition of Deep in the Heart of Your Brain benefited from significant funding awarded by the Wellcome Trust in mid July 2015. Further support from Creative Scotland for Donachie has given her the scope to pursue research into the body of work she has developed over the last 15 years and Deep in the Heart of Your Brain is an opportunity to engage that research and practice with a wider audience. We are currently finalising plans for a symposium at PLATFORM on 4 November 2016 and looking forward to a series of workshops, events and talks, including one with Professor Tom Shakespeare on 28 October in Glasgow.

Deep in the Heart of Your Brain was reviewed by Moira Jeffrey (Scotland on Sunday), Laura Campbell (The List) and see the BBC interview (19 May 2016) here.

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