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A Thing What I Wrote (2020)

A Thing What I Wrote (2020)

The Peter & nou Handbook: A Field Guide to a Speculative Practice (So Far) (2020)

Delivered to the University of Cumbria Research Office in a suitcase at 3.30pm on Thursday 27th February 2020. Then Professor Robert Williams and family took me out for a pint. Now I have no idea what to do with myself…

Cathy Wilkes in Venice

Cathy Wilkes in Venice

Of course I’m biased, but Cathy’s show felt like an incredibly important part of the experience of this year’s biennale, carving out a contemplative space with tiny details, softly-made prints and works that needed my care and consideration at an empathic, human level. Difficult, beautiful ghosts.

More on Cathy here. More Venice highlights to follow…

Stan Douglas in Venice

Stan Douglas in Venice

While I enjoyed Stan Douglas’ photographs of ‘speculative histories’ which play sound with a detailed, rich and staged kind of realism, his new film Doppelgänger could have been made to order for me. Not only is it a story of an accidental doubling (or splitting maybe) of a black female astronaut set in a series hyper-real rooms of super-saturated colour, it’s installed in a way that deeply effects both the experience of the film and its plot too. It’s so slick and tight yet also mutable. Could have stayed with it for hours, but you know how Venice is, lots to see…

More on his Biennale contribution here.

Image pinched off https://www.davidzwirner.com/news/58th-venice-biennale-carol-bove-stan-douglas-and-njideka-akunyili-crosby

6 Key artefacts in Blade Runner 2049

6 Key artefacts in Blade Runner 2049

Consummate consumer (or at least, consummate oogler) of screen used and associated product that I remain, this bonny article highlights Blade Runner 2049’s very deliberate item choices… Can’t believe I’ve not visited Film and Furniture before now. Got there via a frantic search for a vintage blanket which looked like The Shining carpet which I slept under in Venice last weekend. And now I’m dreaming of David Lynch’s side tables again…

And these Lynch-scrawled B&O items…

 

 

 

Domestic Bliss – GoMA, Glasgow

Domestic Bliss – GoMA, Glasgow

 

Pop into Domestic Bliss up in Gallery 4 of GoMA when you are passing. Katie Bruce’s exhibition makes the space seem like new. My work, based on the life of Carson McCullers and from my solo show They are the We of Me (GoMA, 2006) gets to hang out with works by Jacqueline Donachie and Jo Spence, with personal fav. Kate Davis not far off…

From GoMA website:

Domestic Bliss
8 March 2019 (Preview 7 March 5 – 8pm)

Domestic Bliss presents works from Glasgow Museums’ collection reflecting on this building’s history as a former house, Royal Exchange and civic space. Observing how artists work with fine art, design and craft practices alongside social and political changes, this show explores domestic labour and feminism, public and private space, intimate relationships and historical narratives. We live in a consumerist world where home interior, lifestyle magazines and social media present flawless examples for us to emulate in our own lives. What happens if we question what is seen as ‘domestic bliss’, and whose stories are hidden or revealed?

‘I want to make something that lives with the eye as a beautiful piece of art, but on closer inspection, a polemic or an ideology will come out of it’. Grayson Perry

Opening up the gallery space for the first time in a number of years Domestic Blissexperiments with domestic design and traditional museum displays. Works cluster together around themes, they are curious and ask questions about their role in public collections and what histories are hidden or revealed. Included in the exhibition are portraits of intimacy, domesticity and important stories from our collection. However, within this, questions are also asked about the relationship between the artist/maker, the sitter and the audience. These include questions around gaze, authorship and exploitation of marginalised lives that are more prevalent now in our current climate of social media thus creating a discourse on class, values, intersectionality, and documentary media.

Domestic Bliss began with the curator Katie Bruce interested in the work Untitled (Yellow Foot Sofa) by Nicola L (1937 – 2018), acquired in 1990 for Glasgow Museum’s collection, and thinking about the history of the building as home, exchange, library and museum.  The exhibition includes works from the fine art and decorative art collections that have never been shown at GoMA before alongside new acquisitions from Anne Collier and Siân Robinson Davies with more recently-displayed works such as Growing up as Boy by Grayson Perry,  Ice Cream Paperweight (Brown) by Scott Myles and Home Ornaments by Daphne Wright.

At the centre of the show is a reading table, which also functions as an event space responding to themes within the exhibition. Commissions from Camara Taylor and Mandy McIntosh include events that will begin to question the ‘domestic bliss’ the title of this exhibition alludes to. These and the public programme of discussions, talks and readings will inform display changes to the exhibition in the future.

Artists:
Jane Evelyn Atwood, Chris Bramble, Thomas J Clapperton, Emmanuel Cooper, Anne Collier, Kate Davis, Jacqueline Donachie, Nick Evans, Alasdair Gray, Ilana Halperin, Jessie M King, Nicola L, Oscar Marzaroli, Mandy McIntosh and the Feegie Needlers, Scott Myles, Grayson Perry, Niki de Saint Phalle, Siân Robinson Davies, Jo Spence, Ettore Sottsass, Joel Sternfeld, Camara Taylor, Jane Topping, Hanneline Visnes, Nick Waplington, Daphne Wright.

From The Skinny’s Review:

For Domestic Bliss, the Gallery of Modern Art furnishes its top floor gallery full of works from Glasgow’s renowned civic art collection that touch on homelife and domesticity.

In a wide format photograph from Nick Waplington across the back wall, a recent mother tilts the new baby’s head as it vomits, with the frame of the photography taking in the entirety of the small living room’s details, as a frank and exceptional insight into private family life.

There are also drawings of Jane Topping’s own studio wall with fragments of research on the playwright Carson McCullers, particularly a period when McCullers left her husband to live in a queer commune of sorts in the 40s. They show sketches of intimate photos along with quotidian itemised lists (‘cigarettes, dirty plate, war news…’) and poetic annotations or quotations: ‘choice’, ‘Plus, I crave’.

Like the photo of Jacqueline Donachie’s own hectic studio wall, there’s an analogy subtly drawn between the artist’s desk and the build-up of things and papers familiar from well-used coffee tables or fridge doors, and the fortuitous connections and gatherings that might take place there.

Documentary photography takes on a poignant bent in the work of Jane Evelyn Wood, who provides a disarmingly intimate record of Jean Louis, a French man dying of Aids, in his final months. The photos of him passionately kissing, then shaving in the mirror are warm, close-up, inviting and vulnerable.

As well as moments of tenderness, there are the sumptuous perfume bottles designed by Niki de Sant Phalle, and the eccentrically colourful and elegantly formed vases and glasses of Ettore Sottsass.

Entering and exiting, there’s what sounds like the noise of a basin of dishes in water, or the rhythmic rumble of a washing machine. It’s Ilana Halperin’s recording of melting ice crystals in an Icelandic lagoon. At once, the familiar everyday humdrum is made sparkling, and connected global rhythms and radical shifts.

Adam Benmakhlouf 2019


Domestic Bliss, at Gallery of Modern Art until 31 Dec

 

The Isle of the Dead: the Jumper

The Isle of the Dead: the Jumper

Mentioned in Ballard’s The Crystal World and strongly hinted at in Nabokov’s Despair, I’ve always loved Arnold Böcklin’s The Isle of the Dead.

Here’s a version…

And now I have the jumper. I am the Isle of the Dead – a veritable picture of goth in mohair-blend by Coach. I’ve not loved an item of clothing as much as this since my Hi-Tec Nationals, circa 1985. Listen to some Rachmaninov and stare at the fine mohair blend – of death…

Hen Ogledd – Mogic

Hen Ogledd – Mogic

Thanks to CS, I got along to Platform to see Hen Ogledd, my new favourite band, who like eye imagery as much as ‘eye’ do (I know!) and who’s new LP Mogic is, like, totally that. I’m trying to use a lyric in my PhD write-up. Let’s see if I can squeeze it in… The tunes are on Spotify and you can watch videos on that YouTube that they have nowadays, so I hear…

Review of Platform gig is here.

More on Hen Ogledd’s Mogic from The Quietus here.

Buy Mogic here.

More on Platform here.

EVERYBODY IN THE PLACE, AN INCOMPLETE HISTORY OF BRITAIN 1984-1992

EVERYBODY IN THE PLACE, AN INCOMPLETE HISTORY OF BRITAIN 1984-1992

The other week I went, in the ever-excellent company of UoC Institute of the Arts students, to see the latest at the Modern from Jeremy Deller. It’s fantastic. Of course I liked it – I’m a teacher 4 days most weeks, but it was also great to remember the pre-phone costume and spirit of the late 80s/early 90s. A wee bit later I was heading to Mad Dog, somewhere near a motorbike showroom on the clyde… Get along to Everybody in the Place…

Artist Talk – Moving Mountains Art in the Environment – Millom Palladium

Artist Talk – Moving Mountains Art in the Environment – Millom Palladium

Thank you to Moving Mountains artist and curator Irene Rogen, Phil of the vital Signal Film and Media, Frank (not Santa), Mary (who hung out with Norman Nicholson when she was a child!) and everyone who turned out of my talk in Millom the other week. Drinks were served and badges worn.

Jane Topping, Newspaper or (Memoirs of a Spacewoman) – A No. 35 Project – Opens 12-6pm 8th Dec. 2018

Jane Topping, Newspaper or (Memoirs of a Spacewoman) – A No. 35 Project – Opens 12-6pm 8th Dec. 2018

Consider yourself officially invited to Newspaper, a collaboration with Alex Hetherington – the last of his innovative No.35 projects in Stirling and a celebration of the entire series of shows, performances and films:
More on Alex and his numerous projects here: