Anna Oppermann, Brian Cheeswright and 'The Glasgow Miracle' – This week in Scottish Art

This week in Scottish art, there's German conceptual work, some painting, a spot of Pop Art performance and the question: "What is contemporary art?" And it's all free.

Feature by Adam Benmakhlouf | 14 Oct 2014
  • Brian Cheeswright

Let’s start in Dundee, at Duncan of Jordanstone’s Cooper Gallery, where an exhibition of the work of German conceptual artist Anna Oppermann (1940-1993) opens on Friday. This will be the first major exhibition of Oppermann’s work in the UK, and will feature the celebrated 1984 work Cotoneaster Horizontalis (Anticommunication design). Cotoneaster is one of the best examples of Oppermann’s “ensembles”: works formed from hundreds of photographs, drawings and other objects. There will also be additional materials to contextualise the work within the late artist’s biography and practice, including a work by experimental film maker Michael Geißler. Preview Thu 16 Oct, 5:30pm; exhibition from 17 Oct.

Staying in Dundee, late artist and ECA graduate Eduardo Paolozzi is the subject of an exhibition in the McManus Gallery. The show is by popular demand, following many requests from visitors to view Paolozzi’s large scale sculpture Ettso. Also on display will be Paolozzi’s major work Jeepers Creepers and prints from other Dundee collections. The son of Italian migrants, Paolozzi grew up and studied in Scotland before becoming a key figure in the development of Pop Art. The exhibition is open until 2 Nov.

In Glasgow’s CCA, there are two events this week for enquiring minds. Tonight, Dominic Paterson will chair an formal discussion between art historians Jonathan Harris and Angela Dimitrakaki in which they will attempt to address the term “contemporary”, and its use as a theoretical, historical and critical concept. As it's a public discussion, there will be the opportunity to bring questions and queries, or tweet them beforehand using #ArtKeywords. The event takes place tonight (Tue 14 Oct) from 6pm. Tickets are free, but booking is essential.

Still at the CCA, Ross Sinclair will deliver the sixth Steven Campbell Trust Lecture. Sinclair’s taking on the 'Glasgow Miracle' narrative as set out in, for example, the recent BBC documentary “Scotland’s Art Revolution” to accompany this summer's GENERATION festival. This lecture follows on from the completed Glasgow Miracle project, the blog of which might make for some good reading before the event. Again, the event is free but booking is essential; it's on Thu 16 Oct at 6pm. 

Heading to Edinburgh for some painting, last year’s Marmite Prize winner Brian Cheeswright celebrates “36 Years of Brain Feed” in Interview Room 11. Originally from London, but now living and working in Edinburgh, Cheeswright loosely draws his subject matter from his childhood and adolescence. Packed with bright colours and sitting between abstraction and figuration, Cheeswright’s work more than justifies a visit before the show closes on Saturday, with the artist explaining it all in a free talk on Friday – tickets can be had here

Also into the last week of its run, Croatia-based artists Iva Kovač and Elvis Krstulović’s first exhibition in Scotland will end on Saturday. Together the artists call themselves Fokus Grupa and the duo’s work spans across art, design and curating. In “People Love Monuments”, Fokus Grupa consider the importance of monuments in state building. More specifically, they look to the sculpture of Josip Jelačić, which has been variously covered, removed and reinstalled in Zagreb’s main square. From this starting point, the artists raise questions about nationalism, self-determination and statehood – all a little close to the bone at the moment. The show is at Transmission Gallery until Saturday.

GSA have also started their programme of Friday Events, hosted in the GFT every Friday morning at 11am. This week, Garry Roost will perform his play, “Pope Head: The Secret Life of Francis Bacon”. Fresh from the Edinburgh Festival, the play is written by Roost and directed by Paul Garnault and reviews of the Edinburgh performance describe the work as a darkly humourous drama. As always, the events are arranged by the school but free and open to the general public.

Please send details of future events to