This Month in Scottish Art: December 2017

December comes with new markets, events and exhibitions across Dundee, Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Feature by Figgy Guyver | 01 Dec 2017
  • Jacqueline Donachie, Between One Thing and Another

December is a busy month for art in Scotland, with events happening alongside ongoing exhibitions in Edinburgh, Dundee and Glasgow. If you’re hoping to get into the Christmas spirit, there are fairs a-plenty: take your pick from the offerings at Summerhall, Stills, or House for an Art Lover.

At Edinburgh’s Talbot Rice Gallery, John Akomfrah’s duo of installations, Vertigo Sea (2015) and At the Graveside of Tarkovsky (2012) are on show throughout December. Be sure to visit Vertigo Sea, a crisp collage of the human and the marine, and the former’s cruel exploitation of the latter. In conjunction with the exhibition, Talbot Rice will host two events. On 7 December, Celeste-Marie Bernier will present an informal talk, Power to the Powerless. The discussion will introduce audiences to visual art created by Black British artists working across the Black Diaspora. Talbot Rice will also be hosting a symposium on 3 December entitled Collective Blackness, which will explore the exposure of black film collectives and the influence of consciously black creativity in contemporary cinema.

At Fruitmarket, works by Scottish artist Jacqueline Donachie are currently on display. Central to the exhibition are Advice Bar, a freestanding sculpture and meeting point for advice sessions and Temple of Jackie, a camping-trailer-come-social-space. In this spirit of participation, Fruitmarket will host a conversation on the theme of Art, Activism and Exchange on 13 December. Fruitmarket’s Iain Morrison will be joined by Consuelo Bassanesi, the Artistic Director of the Rio-based contemporary art centre Despina.

Up in Dundee, a pair of exhibitions will open on the 9 December at DCA. Both shows will address curatorial concerns, be it by using the outside world to disrupt the white cube space, or by inviting spectators to become participants. Gallery One will house Fragments, new works by Andrew Lacon. The show will draw on the artist’s journey from Mexico in 2015, during which he transported Mexican pink marble through customs. This initial journey sparked a series of questions concerning the political lives of materials: how they are obtained, appropriated and used, often in locations far from their geographical origin. In Gallery Two, Kate V Robertson will present This Mess is Kept Afloat. The exhibition will also consider characteristics of materials, with particular interest in instability and dysfunction. Using a variety of rectangular forms referencing a cityscape, the artist will play with the appearance of depth.

The premiere of Ai Weiwei’s new documentary Human Flow will be streamed live on 4 December at the DCA. Broadcast from the Barbican Milton Hall, Ai Weiwei will participate in a Q&A, moderated by Jon Snow, after the premiere. The new documentary visualises the monumental scale of human migration caused by climate change, famine and war in the C20 and C21. Considering the effects of mass movement such as this, the documentary will question whether our global society will choose fear, isolation and self-interest, or openness, freedom and a respect for humanity.

In Glasgow, the New Glasgow Society will host a series of exhibitions throughout December. A highlight on 11 December will be Wet Seat (do not sit), which will open on the Argyle Street space. Featuring work by three fashion and textile students from GSA, the exhibition will include work that challenges the framework and teaching of fashion and textile design.

If you’re on the lookout for Christmas gifts, there are art and craft fairs happening across Scotland. Highlights in Edinburgh include the Summerhall Christmas Market on 10 December, and the Stills Christmas Market on 9 December. Over in Glasgow, House for an Art Lover will host its annual Christmas Fayre on 3 December. There are many more events showcasing the best of Scottish art and design across the major cities – find out more elsewhere on the website.