Scottish Art Events and Exhibitions: January 2022

Radical politics, sensitive explorations of site and place, and blockbuster installations feature in our round-up of art in Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow

Preview by Adam Benmakhlouf | 05 Jan 2022
  • Cauleen Smith

Opening the 2022 art calendar, Hunterian Gallery's new show Flesh Arranges Itself Differently runs from 14 January, with almost 50 artworks by artists who have evoked bodily experiences – often in response to the impacts of technology, spirituality or mortality.

The following week, from 22 January, Collective Gallery in Edinburgh opens its year with H-E-L-L-O by Cauleen Smith. Centred on a 2014 film work set in New Orleans after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, musicians from the city play the five notes of the coded extra-terrestrial hello at the climax of Close Encounters of the Third Kind. The interpretations 'speak mournfully of New Orleans’ enduring spirit despite a troubled recent past and uncertain future.'

Also at Collective until 13 March, there’s Joey Simons' exhibition The Fearful Part Of It Was The Absence, looking to histories of working class resistance in Glasgow, in new poetry, a wall drawing, audio and videos.

Radical politics are also at play in DJCAD's Cooper Gallery exhibition Sit-in 2: To Be Potential, which brings together a breathtaking number of materials and artworks on liberatory ways of learning, living and politically organising together. Three separate events run this month on revolutionary thinking (12 Jan), collective decision-making (20 Jan), and dance as a decolonial methodology for knowledge production (29 Jan).

Until 5 February, the annual showcase of the recent year of photography graduates Futureproof is in Stills Gallery, ranging from experimental and candid family portraiture to complex reworkings of found NASA images.

Also in Edinburgh in Fruitmarket Gallery, there is the continuing major solo show by artist and activist Howardena Pindell, which brings together her beautiful abstract and experimental paintings with her issue-based and film works. Click here for Pindell's interview feature from our December issue, where she shares her experiences of being the first and only African-American woman in white-dominated art spaces over her six-decade career. 

In Dundee Contemporary Arts (DCA), two new solo shows continue through this month. At the shore, everything touches by Tako Taal offers lyrical representations of Taal's family's home village in The Gambia, including sound work, new delicate watercolour paintings, film and the inclusion of two 1987 works by artist Maud Saulter, along with facsimiles of familial photographs and documents belonging to the artist. Next door, there is the richly symbolic new solo show titled ▷▥◉▻ by Rae-Yen Song, who is interviewed this month and shares some of the references made in the complicated and blockbuster-scale new exhibition.