This Month in Scottish Art: November 2017

John Akomfrah's acclaimed contribution to the 2015 Venice Biennale comes to Talbot Rice, as Dundee showcases artist Ulay's long legacy of politically charged performance

Preview by Figgy Guyver | 02 Nov 2017
  • Ulay, Sh-e, 1973-74 from the series Renais Sense

November kicks off midway through Sonica, a festival of visual sonic art from fourteen countries in venues across Glasgow. Don’t miss Phase Transition by Kathy Hinde, in which the artist converts the abandoned Govanhill Baths into a sound installation. Blocks of melting ice will become instruments in a sonic performance raising awareness of climate change. There are a huge range of events during the 11-day festival, so be sure to check out the full programme at sonic-a.co.uk.

Continuing on the theme of sonic art, Glasgow’s David Dale Gallery will open a new exhibition by Norwegian artist Hanne Lippard on 4 November. Lippard’s practice typically explores the production of language using only the voice, and this show, entitled numb limb is set to continue her investigation of form and content.

Over in Edinburgh John Akomfrah’s Vertigo Sea (2015) has been installed at Talbot Rice Gallery. The three-screen installation was a stand-out piece at the 2015 Venice Biennale, and uses new and archive footage to explore the beauty and cruelty of man's relationship with the sea. Prompted by a radio interview with young Nigerian migrants, the themes range from whaling to slavery and the current refugee crisis. Vertigo Sea will be screened alongside At the Graveside of Tarkovsky (2012), which will see Talbot Rice’s Georgian Gallery filled wall-to-wall with pebbles.

The weekend commencing Friday 10 November will be a busy one if you’re in Glasgow: exhibitions will open at Tramway, The Modern Institute, Transmission and Mary Mary Gallery.

Tramway presents a new body of sculptural work by Amanda Ross-Ho. This will be the LA-based artist’s first solo exhibition in the UK, and will include her trademark production of comically oversized objects. The new pieces are inspired, in part, by Charlie Chaplin’s political comedy Modern Times (1936), and will appear within an installation resembling a factory floor.

Opening at The Modern Institute’s Osborne Street space will be a new selection of appropriated photographic works by Anne Collier. The New York artist typically uses found images to examine the embedded meaning and cultural value of photographs.

Mary Mary gallery will present its second exhibition in its new premises on Oswald Street. A trio of painters, Lisa Alvarado, Alex Olson and Daniel Sinsel will present new works reinterpreting their medium and challenging how the viewer reads the painterly surface and the image.

At Transmission curators from Black Radical Imagination will be taking over the gallery programme for the month. The collective will present baby boy, a visual art exhibition exploring Black-American male identity in its numerous forms. The exhibition will be bookended by a pair of films, Baby Boy (2002) by John Singleton and Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight (2016).

Meanwhile, in Edinburgh, Fruitmarket opens a new major show on the weekend of 10 November. The gallery will present a mid-career exhibition of sculpture, installation, photography, film and drawing by Glasgow-based artist Jacqueline Donachie. Returning to the theme of identity, the artist will use sculpture to explore how we construct and support ourselves in the world. A new incarnation of the artist’s Advice Bar (1995/2017) will also be unveiled at Fruitmarket: simultaneously installation and performance piece, Donachie will host a programme of advice sessions throughout the exhibition.

On the other side of the Forth, Dundee will also be hosting significant works from an acclaimed performance artist. Ulay is known for experimental photography and action works as well as collaborations with Marina Abramović. Running throughout the month at the Cooper Gallery So you see me will present challenging works examining the ethical functions of art as well as the appearance and performance of identity.

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