The Highs and Lows of Scotland’s Year in Art 2018 – 2018年苏格兰艺术年的高低

There are two starkly contrasting images that operate as a kind of visual shorthand for the highs and lows of Scotland’s year in the visual arts. One is the forlorn yet still strangely beautiful sight of the Glasgow School of Art’s gutted Mackintosh building, a haunting, skeletal reminder of the devastation wreaked on the night of 15 June as fire ripped through it and the neighbouring 02 ABC music venue. The other is the brand new Kengo Kuma-designed V&A Dundee – which opened to the public on 15 September – a bold and imposing presence on this east coast city’s waterfront that speaks of civic ambition and cultural soft power. Old and new, renewal and destruction – it’s been a sometimes fraught and rarely dull year.


The Highs and Lows of Scotland’s Year in Art 2018 - 2018年苏格兰艺术年的高低

Courtesy: V&A Dundee; photograph: © Hufton + Crow

Described by Kuma as ‘a living room for the city’, the arrival of the V&A – billed as ‘Scotland’s first design museum’ – has already had a tangible impact, giving Dundee’s small but active contemporary art scene a boost in confidence, energy and visitor numbers. Over on the west coast however, Scotland’s biggest city, Glasgow, has had a year that many may wish to forget – despite positives such as Cathy Wilkes being chosen to represent the UK at the 58th Venice Biennale next year and fellow Glasgow-based artist Charlotte Prodger winning the Turner Prize. Work to rebuild the Mack may take up to a decade and, while there exists a steely resolve to get the job done, the energizing passion that followed the building’s far less severe 2014 fire is more difficult to muster. While that’s partly down to understandable fatigue, just as significant is the fire’s immediate impact on the surrounding area and in turn the city’s cultural life. The nearby Centre for Contemporary Arts (CCA) was forced to close for four months, with consequences for a wide range of arts organizations and individuals; at one point, there were even worries for the future of the organization, which began life in the 1970s as the Third Eye Centre. Just under a month after CCA finally did reopen in October, with questions continuing to be asked about how a second fire was able to happen, beleaguered GSA director of five years Tom Innes stepped down. His resignation did not come as a surprise.  

Also no surprise was the departure in July of Creative Scotland CEO Janet Archer, with the months prior to her resignation marked by a sense of chaos and confusion at the Scottish arts funding body. The year had begun with a feeling of uncertainty for many, due to Creative Scotland’s decision to delay its 2018–21 regular funding announcement until late January. When it finally arrived on the 25th of that month there was disbelief that Transmission, the hugely influential artist-run gallery in Glasgow, was to lose its funding, just as it reached its 35th year. In total 20 arts organizations were dropped from the portfolio, and while five were later reinstated following strident lobbying from the theatre community, there was no reprieve for Transmission. 


The Highs and Lows of Scotland’s Year in Art 2018 - 2018年苏格兰艺术年的高低

Street view of Transmission Gallery, Glasgow. Courtesy: Transmission Gallery, Glasgow

The gallery’s volunteer committee described the decision as ‘political’ and ‘discriminatory’ in a lengthy statement which, among other things, pointed out that the defunding came ‘at the first moment in Transmission’s history that it has been led by a committee of people of colour’. It has remained open however and continues to receive project funding from Creative Scotland. In fact, this year has seen two particularly strong shows, with a first solo exhibition by the Edinburgh-based Glasgow artist Rabiya Choudhry and a UK debut from the South African black women’s collective iQhiya. The latter took place in April as part of the biennial Glasgow International, the first under new director Richard Parry, whose light touch curatorial approach allowed the energy and diversity of artistic production in the city to be foregrounded in the festival.

There were others who lost out in the Creative Scotland funding round who didn’t survive the year. NVA, the Glasgow-based art producers founded in 1992 by former Test Dept member Angus Farquhar, closed in September, and with it went its hugely ambitious, and ultimately financially crippling plan to transform the abandoned modernist ruin St Peter’s Seminary in Cardross, Argyll & Bute. The building can be seen in the organization’s final project – Scottish artist Rachel Maclean’s first feature-length film, Make Me Up – which premiered on BBC 4 in November.


The Highs and Lows of Scotland’s Year in Art 2018 - 2018年苏格兰艺术年的高低

Collective, Edinburgh, view of the Hillside, the City Dome and the City Observatory. Photograph: Tom Nolan

While the future of the Category A-listed St Peter’s is now once again uncertain, the year saw successful reinventions of other historic buildings, albeit of a very different scale, cost and complexity. In May, Edinburgh’s Ingleby Gallery celebrated its 20th year by moving into a beautifully restored former place of worship, the Glasite Meeting House in the city’s New Town, originally constructed in 1835. Again in Edinburgh, November saw the opening of the Collective gallery’s new home overlooking the city at the former City Observatory site, designed by William Henry Playfair in 1818. Glasgow gained a new space, with Rome’s Frutta Gallery opening a small UK outpost in the city’s east end in April. There were closures too, with Koppe Astner shutting its gallery in June following a starkly-engaging Corin Sworn show (a new Koppe Astner gallery is set to open in February in the Tradeston area of Glasgow), and just this month The Common Guild ceasing its exhibition programme at 21 Woodlands Terrace, a 1850s town house owned by Douglas Gordon and the organization’s home for the last 10 years. Events and projects will continue to be programmed elsewhere as it begins the search for a more accessible new space.

Buildings come and go, of course, and art scenes evolve and reinvent themselves just as long as there are the people – artists, curators, gallerists, academics – with the ideas and passion to push things forward. The death in August of John Calcutt, the much-admired former head of GSA’s world-renowned MFA programme – among whose graduates are many Turner Prize winners, including this year’s – was a tragic reminder that while great buildings are important, great people are even more so. Most recently, on 4 December the Scottish painter Carol Rhodes passed away from motor neurone disease. The Edinburgh-born, Glasgow-based artist studied and later taught at Glasgow School of Art and was a committee member in the early days of Transmission. A monograph on her work, edited by Andrew Mummery, was published earlier this year – a fitting epitaph to a singular Scottish painter.


The Highs and Lows of Scotland’s Year in Art 2018 - 2018年苏格兰艺术年的高低

Margaret Tait, Portrait of Ga, 1952, film still. Courtesy: the Margaret Tait Estate and LUX

It has, then, been a testing 12 months that has both highlighted the cultural ambition and depth of the visual arts in Scotland while also revealing their fragility and need for consistent support. It has also been a year of celebration, with November being 100 years since the birth of Margaret Tait, the Orcadian filmmaker who has proved to be such a lasting influence on Scotland’s artists working with moving image – not least through the annual Margaret Tait Award. This year that award went to Alberta Whittle while previous winners include Stephen Sutcliffe and, of course, Charlotte Prodger. Perhaps the image that really defines Scotland’s year is not a building at all, either fire-damaged or newly built. Instead, maybe it’s that of Prodger – shocked, delighted and characteristically humble – as it was announced that she had won the Turner Prize.

Main image: Charlotte Prodger photographed at the Tate Britain, London, after winning the 2018 Turner Prize, 2018. Courtesy: Reuters/Peter Nicholls

Chris Sharratt

Chris Sharratt is a freelance writer and editor based in Glasgow. 

Opinion /

Charlotte Prodger
Turner Prize
Creative Scotland
The Common Guild
Koppe Astner
Chris Sharratt
Looking Back
Looking Back 2018

在视觉艺术中,有两幅截然不同的图像作为苏格兰年份高低的视觉速记。其中一幅是格拉斯哥艺术学院那座被摧毁的麦金托什大楼的凄凉而又奇妙的美丽景象,它令人难以忘怀,让人想起6月15日夜里发生的大火,以及邻近的02ABC音乐会场。另一个是九月十五日向公众开放的全新肯戈·库马设计的V&A Dundee,在这个东海岸城市的滨水区,它大胆而雄伟地展现了公民的雄心壮志和文化软实力。新旧交替,更新和毁灭——这一年有时很紧张,很少枯燥。v_a-dundee_scotland_c-huftoncrow_064.jpg The Highs and Lows of Scotland’s Year in Art 2018 - 2018年苏格兰艺术年的高低 Courtesy:V&A Dundee;.: Hufton+Crow_Kuma形容为“城市的起居室”,V&A——“苏格兰第一设计博物馆”——的到来已经产生了切实的影响,给了Dundee这个小而活跃的当代艺术场景增强了人们的信心、活力和游客数量。然而,在西海岸,苏格兰最大的城市格拉斯哥已经度过了许多人可能希望忘记的一年——尽管诸如凯茜·威尔克斯(Cathy Wilkes)被选为明年第58届威尼斯双年展的英国代表,格拉斯哥的艺术家夏洛特·普罗杰(Charlotte Prodger)也获得了特纳奖。重建麦克的工作可能需要长达十年的时间,尽管人们有坚定的决心来完成这项工作,但随着这座建筑在2014年远不那么严重的火灾,人们更加难以集中精力。虽然这部分归因于可以理解的疲劳,但是火灾对周边地区以及城市文化生活的直接影响同样重要。附近的当代艺术中心(CCA)被迫关闭4个月,给各种各样的艺术组织和个人带来后果;一度,甚至有人担心该组织的未来,该组织在1970年代开始作为第三眼中心生活。就在CCA终于在10月重新开张不到一个月之后,仍然有人问起第二次火灾是如何发生的,陷入困境的GSA五年总监汤姆·因斯下台了。他的辞职并不出乎意料。同样不出乎意料的是,创意苏格兰首席执行官珍妮特·阿切尔7月份离职,在她辞职之前的几个月里,苏格兰艺术资助机构充满了混乱和困惑。由于创新苏格兰公司决定将2018-21年度的经常融资公告推迟到1月下旬,今年开始时很多人都感到不确定。当这个月25日它最终到达时,人们不相信在格拉斯哥有巨大影响力的艺术家运营的画廊“透射”将失去它的资金,正如它到达它的第35年一样。总共有20个艺术机构从该组合中退出,虽然后来在戏剧界的激烈游说后恢复了5个,但《传播》没有延期。礼仪:格拉斯哥,传输画廊。画廊的志愿者委员会在一份长篇声明中把这一决定描述为“政治性的”和“歧视性的”,声明中特别指出,该决定是“在传输史上的第一个时刻,它被一个由同胞组成的委员会领导的”。洛尔然而,它仍然保持开放,并继续接受来自创新苏格兰的项目资助。事实上,今年已经看了两场特别精彩的演出,第一场由爱丁堡的格拉斯哥艺术家拉比亚·乔杜里举办的个人展览,以及南非黑人妇女集体iQhiya在英国的首次亮相。后者于四月份举行,作为格拉斯哥国际艺术节两年一度的一部分,这是新导演理查德·帕里率先主持的,他的轻触式的策展方式使得这个城市艺术生产的活力和多样性在艺术节中得以突出。还有一些人在创造性苏格兰基金一轮中输了,他们没有活过这一年。NVA是格拉斯哥的艺术生产商,由前测试部成员安格斯·法夸尔于1992年创立,并于9月份关闭。随着NVA的雄心勃勃,最终在财政上陷入瘫痪。在BBC 4频道11月首映的苏格兰艺术家雷切尔·麦克林的第一部长篇电影《让我振作起来》的最后一个项目中,可以看到这座建筑。._hill._city-dome_city-.atory.-tom-nolan-.-2018-4.jpg The Highs and Lows of Scotland’s Year in Art 2018 - 2018年苏格兰艺术年的高低 Collective,爱丁堡,山坡,城市圆顶和城市天文台的视图。摄影:汤姆·诺兰.虽然列在A类榜单上的圣彼得教堂的未来再次不确定,但今年其他历史建筑的再创造还是很成功的,尽管规模、成本和复杂度都大不相同。今年五月,爱丁堡英格利美术馆搬进了一个修复得非常漂亮的旧礼拜场所,这座位于爱丁堡新城的玻璃会堂,原本建于1835年,以此庆祝它的第20个年头。11月,在爱丁堡,在威廉·亨利·普莱费尔于1818年设计的前城市天文台遗址,集体美术馆的新居再次开放,俯瞰这座城市。格拉斯哥获得了一个新的空间,罗马的弗罗塔画廊四月份在该市东端开设了一个英国小哨所。科林·阿斯特纳在6月份举办了一场非常吸引人的科林宣誓秀(新的科普·阿斯特纳画廊将于2月在格拉斯哥的特拉德斯顿地区开幕)之后关闭了画廊,就在这个月,共同工会停止了在21伍德兰德露台(21Woodlands Terrace)、道格拉斯·戈登(Douglas Gordon)以及这个组织过去10年来一直是老家。事件和项目将继续在其他地方进行编程,因为它开始寻找更容易访问的新空间。当然,建筑来来往往,艺术场景不断演变,不断重塑自己,只要有人——艺术家、策展人、画廊家、学者——有想法和热情推动事情向前发展。美国地质勘探局世界著名的MFA项目前负责人约翰·卡尔卡特在8月去世,他的毕业生中有许多特纳奖获得者,包括今年的获奖者,这悲惨地提醒人们,虽然伟大的建筑物很重要,但伟大的人甚至更重要。最近,12月4日,苏格兰画家卡罗尔·罗兹死于运动神经元疾病。这位出生于爱丁堡、位于格拉斯哥的艺术家在格拉斯哥艺术学院学习,后来任教,在传播学早期是委员会成员。由安德鲁·穆默里编辑的关于她作品的专著今年早些时候出版了——一个适合苏格兰一位独特画家的墓志铭。1952年,玛格丽特·泰特肖像画廊礼貌:玛格丽特·泰特庄园和卢克斯庄园历经了12个月的考验,既凸显了苏格兰视觉艺术的文化野心和深度,也暴露了它们的脆弱性,需要持续的支持。这也是一年的庆祝活动,11月是玛格丽特·泰特诞辰100周年,这位Orcadian电影制片人已经证明,她对苏格兰从事电影摄影的艺术家具有如此持久的影响——尤其是通过每年一度的玛格丽特·泰特奖。今年的奖项颁给了艾伯塔·惠特尔,而之前的获奖者包括斯蒂芬·萨特克里夫,当然还有夏洛特·普罗杰。也许真正定义苏格兰这一年的形象根本不是一座建筑,不是被火烧毁的,就是新建的。相反,也许是普罗杰——震惊、高兴、谦虚——宣布她获得了特纳奖。主图:夏洛特·普罗杰于2018年获得特纳奖后在伦敦泰特不列颠拍照。礼貌:路透社/彼得·尼科尔斯·克里斯·夏拉特是格拉斯哥的自由撰稿人和编辑。纳尔奖苏格兰创意传输公会Koppe Astner Chris Sharratt回顾2018年


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