Glasgow West End Festival and BAS7

17 – 19 June 2011

A weekend trip to Glasgow to catch up with a friend, check out the West End Festival and take another look at the British Art Show 7: In the Days of the Comet (I first saw it in Nottingham). The British Art Show is widely recognised as the most ambitious and influential exhibition of contemporary British art… so well worth a second look in my opinion, as well as the other independent art galleries/exhibitions.  The Glue factory on Garscube Industrial Estate, was transformed to host the Glasgow School of Art Degree show.  Dark corners were lit up with ‘floating’ video projections, some silent, some with sound, showing vibrant, odd contemporary dance/performance on a beach and close ups of tin foil.  A few sound pieces dotted here and there- actually in a separate room- behind a wall, on a bench (triggered by the movement of the viewer) and from a box (triggered when the lid was lifted).

Douglas Gordon 'Scratch Hither', 2002 (DVD on monitor)
Douglas Gordon ‘Scratch Hither’, 2002 (DVD on monitor)

The Common Guild was the first venue I arrived at after flying into Glasgow at 8am.  I arrived at 21 Woodlands Terrace (I found out later that this is actually Douglas Gordon’s house- one of my favourite artists!) at 9am, but the sign on the door said the gallery didn’t open until 12pm. Bugger.  But it didn’t matter because I was welcomed in (from the rain) by Kitty, a member of staff who very kindly let me dry off in the office, while looking through magazines and helping me plan my tour of Glasgow galleries over the weekend.

The exhibition was booted up (lots of monitors and projections) and I was told I could wander around with my tea- now that’s customer service and a great show it was.

“You seem the same as always, -” brings together a range of works by international and Glasgow-based artists, which share a very particular focus: that of the artist’s own hand. The exhibition includes film, video, photography, prints, drawings and objects, all of which share a refreshing sense of immediacy and directness and vary from the witty to the uncanny.

Claire Barclay, Katie Davis, Olafur Eliasson, Hans-Peter Feldmann, Douglas Gordon, Gabriel Orozco, Yvonne Rainer, Richard Serra and David Shrigley.

Olafur Eliasson 'The Moving Museum, 2009 (3 DVD projections on wooden table)
Olafur Eliasson ‘The Moving Museum, 2009 (3 DVD projections on wooden table)

BAS7 was exhibited across three venues in Glasgow, including the Centre for Contemporary Arts, Gallery of Modern Art and Tramway.  Here’s a few of my favourites…

Centre for Contemporary Arts

Christian Marclay’s The Clock, features thousands of found film fragments of clocks, watches, and characters reacting to a particular time of day. These are edited together to create a 24 hour-long, single-channel video that is synchronised with local time. As each new clip appears a new narrative is suggested, only to be swiftly overtaken by another. Watching, we inhabit two worlds; that of fiction and that of fact, as real-time seconds fly inexorably by.

Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA): Haroon Mirza, Regaining a degree of control (new work created for BAS7)
Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA): Haroon Mirza, Regaining a degree of control (new work created for BAS7)

Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA)

Haroon Mirza’s complex audio-visual installations are assembled out of domestic furniture, electronic equipment and lights. Regaining a Degree of Control, a new work created for BAS7, uses previously unseen footage of Ian Curtis, frontman for the post-punk band Joy Division.

Curtis’s song ‘She’s Lost Control’ concerns a girl with epilepsy, a condition that Curtis himself suffered from and to which the strobe light in Mirza’s installation refers. Here, as in much of Mirza’s work, the central proposition is about transforming noise into sound, and making hearing and listening as important and relevant as seeing and looking. His aim is to ‘explore visual and acoustic space as one sensorial mode of perception.’

Tramway: Luke Fowler and Toshiya Tsunoda, Composition for Flutter Screen, 2008
Tramway: Luke Fowler and Toshiya Tsunoda, Composition for Flutter Screen, 2008


Luke Fowler and Toshiya Tsunoda ‘Composition for Flutter Screen’, 2008.  Installation with 16mm colour film and projector, homemade screen, timer, wire, fans, lights.

This sculptural installation features a flimsy handmade screen which is subjected to a series of interventions.  Fixed images – a moth, a meniscus, a candle flame – projected onto it are caused to move because the screen itself is in constant motion, blown about by electric fans.  From time to time, bright light and amplified sound interrupt the choreographed flow of the work, revealing the mechanisms of its illusions.

Lucy Stevens’ artistic practice examines the acoustic ecology of the natural environment, using field recording, digital illustration, performance and printmaking as a tool to visualise sound produced by wildlife, weather and other natural phenomena.

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