Tuesday, 30 March 2010


The monumental, hanger-like spaces that create the Tramway are an attraction in themselves. The pregnant potential of the surviving tramline sunk into a lake of concrete, preserved to a point where it seems almost operational, in the religiously vast space of the Tramway 2 gallery, contrast impressively. This duet sets the scene for the contribution of the Italian sculptor Lara Favaretto.

Upright, wall mounted car wash brushes are rotating, stopping, pausing and restarting along the walls. The low murmurs of mechanisms soundtrack the exhibits; a process is unfolding, carefully programmed. Mesmerised yet curious one proceeds, aware that this performance is not for us, but would continue without our engagement. Coupled together in clusters of different sizes, with an array of vibrant and muted colours, they are personified through the titles; 'Kelly and Griff', 'Maria and Felix' and 'Thing', the orange lone ranger in the corner. Although embroiled with these personas their kinetics are contained, staged to a point that renders them caged and waiting for more intense observation.

Instantly accessible through mere spectacle alone, greater attention is nothing but rewarding. The iron plates which the brushes are rotating against are also slowly disintegrating the plastic of the bristles. Action simultaneously leaves it perishable. This melancholy of the eventual failure of the objects is reiterated by the three 'confetti cubes' sharing the Tramway space. These blocks slip into your consciousness at a slower pace, a quiet contribution waiting patiently on the floor for your discovery. Such a throw-away material like confetti compressed into this solid form jars expectations, however the flurry of visitors to the gallery has facilitated the beginnings of a return to the material’s more common incarnation; scattered and un-sculpted. The semi-crumbling cubes are live relics, so playfully fragile they almost invite destruction.

It is easy to imagine works becoming a scratch on the surface of the largest Tramway gallery space. But fortunately Favaretto triumphs in pastel and paint box hues, as she transforms the space into a ball room of contemporary proportions. Enjoyable, but not to be underestimated, this installation takes a mundane starting point and elevates it beyond every stretch of the imagination.

She has in the past suspended a Gypsy caravan from a crane, constructed a machine for showering viewers with confetti and created an installation in which visitors were invited to sit beneath a felt-clad tree that responded by shedding its autumn leaves.


Sewn found photograph sculpture, 6-1/4 x 5-1/4 x 5-1/4, 2000

LISA KOKIN is intrigued with other people’s photographic recording of their lives both for the generic quality they possess -- the family and social rituals, studio portraits, vacation shots -- and for the feeling of sadness and nostalgia that acquiring other people’s memories provokes in me. She feels somehow that it should be illegal to own them, yet since they are for sale it might as well be her who buys them.

Sometimes there are inscriptions on the back (“Susie, 7 years old”) but more often they come to her stripped of all identity. Kokin speculates about the nature of the photographed people’s lives, and will, of course, never know the truth, so gives them new lives and rescue them from the obscurity they would be headed for. She tries to invent an altogether different identity for them but of course, in the final analysis these works are more about the artist than any of the hundreds of anonymous individuals who appear in the work.

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Action Photo I (From Pictures of Chocolate), 1997
Vik Muniz, born Brazil 1961
Dye destruction print

Vik Muniz takes well known images remembered from endless reproductions and recreates them from memory, using household materials like sugar, chocolate, and thread. He then uses the camera to record them. Muniz creates a witty and uncanny effect by translating well-known images into strange visual puzzles. We can either suspend disbelief by imagining the ‘original’ photograph which inspired his invention, or think of his work as virtuoso pieces of drawing which last only seconds for the camera before melting or disintegrating.

Dye destruction prints are made using print material which has at least three emulsion layers, each one sensitised to a different primary colour - red, blue or green - and each one containing a dye related to that colour. During exposure to a colour transparency, each layer records different information about the colour make-up of the image. During printing, the dyes are destroyed or preserved to form a full colour image in which the three emulsion layers are perceived as one. Dye destruction prints are characterised by vibrant colour. The process used to be called Cibachrome: it is now known as Ilfochrome.

On the road

"They have worries, they're counting the miles, they're thinking about where to sleep tonight, how much money for gas, the weather, how they'll get there - and all the time they'll get there anyway, you see"
JACK KEROUAC - 'On The Road' novel

My new concept

Using the campervan (an inanimate object) as the third person subjective to convey the thoughts, feelings, opinions etc of one or more persons/character (i.e. my parents). The 3rd person perspective is also called 'over the shoulder' - where the narrator only decribes events & information known by a character . I intend to personify the van, as if it also feels and experiences the same journey as my parents.

Sighthill high-rise flats demolition - Nov 2009

When the flats were high in the sky they looked like this.

On the 29th November 2009 they turned into this.

And back in January 2010 there were still many remnants of them like this.

Red Road flats

The two 31-storey tower blocks and four 31-storey point blocks were designed for Glasgow Corporation in 1962 by Sam Bunton & Associates and at that time were the tallest residential blocks in Europe. They were built with steel frames clad in asbestos panels, the first time such a technique had been used in Glasgow. The asbestos has since been replaced.

As with many other high-rise schemes, poor planning and cost-cutting resulted in a lack of amenities, poor services and a high incidence of vandalism and other social problems. In 1980 two blocks of flats were declared unfit to live. A rescue programme resulted in the conversion of one for student and executive use and another for the YMCA. In recent years some of the Red Road flats have housed Kosovan refugees and are now home to asylum seekers from the Horn of Africa, Asia, the former Soviet Union, Iran and Iraq.

10 Petershill Court (Red Road) : 27 floors, 80m (1969), 303 units
63 Petershill Drive (Red Road) : 31 floors, 89m (1967), 120 units
93 Petershill Drive (Red Road) : 31 floors, 89m (1967), 120 units
33 Petershill Drive (Red Road) : 31 floors, 89m (1967), 120 units
123 Petershill Drive (Red Road) : 31 floors, 89m (1967), 120 units
10 Red Road Court (Red Road) : 31 floors, 89m (1966), 120 units
21 Birnie Court (Red Road) : 31 floors, 89m (1966), 120 units
153 Petershill Drive (Red Road) : 27 floors, 80m (1969), 303 units

we washed

"can't you see I'm sleeping"

"can't you see I'm behind the curtain"

"can't you see I'm reading"

Peeping up on you
Head in the clouds

Coloured shelters

See-through the land


Monday, 15 March 2010

travelling sight

Just some of GERHARD RICHTER's Atlas Sheet series - the landscapes - 1970 to 1985