Sunday 27 April 2014


In a word disappointing. An event where the spaces are more interesting than the art. How can this be? There are around 70 exhibitions, events & performances all over the city, and this a city crawling with artists. A city moreover now using its artists, ("More Turner Prize nominees than anywhere in the UK") as tourist PR. Glasgow is hosting the Commonwealth Olympics this July, so it's an important year. Let's hope things improve from this limp, slight, slipshod, ineffectual & unfriendly offering. 
I was hoping for several serious important exhibitions, but much of GI 2014 provides half hearted, banal, derivative work. And the 'international" aspect is thin. Luckily the Modern Institute has captured 2, including NY -based Anne Collier. I also object to second-hand imports like the Govanhill inflatables, seen 2 yrs ago in London. Surely these artists could have been asked or told to make a couple of sculptures relating to Glasgow? 
 And why import from London anyway? People come to GI to see work by Glasgow artists or work by international artists. That's why its called GI!  
I realise that it's trendy to be 'immersive" - such an overused word -  but the result can be offensive. Promoted in an extreme form of artspeak, GI is a festival which caters to a small section of the art world & art students, but totally excludes the general public. Glasgow has a huge welcoming heart and a willing population. Yet no allowance has been made for Joe Public.  

Everywhere the SPACES are FAR MORE MEMORABLE than the art! Glasgow is full of architectural gems. Some of these Victorian spaces are truly beautiful, (GoMA's big central hall, Mackintosh's School of Art gallery, the Kibble Palace,) some quirky, (disused swimming baths, an underground carpark), some vast, most old, but occasionally new, white-box-perfect, like Voidoid Archive, only one is a room with a view, (Common Guild,) but there'd even a garden, (at the House for an Art Lover where  Suzanne Dery's cosmology does it no favours.) 

    voidoid archive
The Briggait, originally the city's fish market built in 1873, has a spectacular glass roof which allows light to flood the various sculptures of Reclaimed. The Modern Institute hosts a dramatic diagonal divide (plus music) from Vapour in Debri& while Kendall Koppe also works the diagonal for his display of Lucie Rie ceramic pots.  Ceramics is the province  of Paisley Art Gallery where Robert Saunders worked wonders. There are great Rie ceramics there on show right now.  At the McLellan yet another diagonal, this time constructed with a huge truck tarp, crosses the grandiose Victorian space, (in need of refurbishment.)  Personally I much prefer Avery Singer's fractured geometrics.
Modern Institute
Some of the best installations were to be found in dusty warehouses like the Glue Factory where Michael White  creates an impeccable installation with printed fabrics and upholstered structures &, I'm told, the Pipe Factory too featured a wonderful, fluttering installation by Becky Sik. 
Sik installation photograph by Fiona Watson
Surprisingly GoMA's large-scale installation in its central hall, while politically motivated, also has a magical touch with its science fiction robots and Disney creatures. SWG3's Encadre included much derivative work, while Gabriel Kuri's boring booths are offset by his discs.
Worst efforts: Alex Frost at GPS; Kelvingrove's rarely working videos by Simon Martin; Hydrapangaea at the Botanics. 
Disappointments: the lack of animals in Gareth Moore's Sculpture Studios show. All the Tramway videos. Transmission's long-winded 'Post-Military Cinema'; Mary Mary's ugly pots & vessels afflicted with gigantism. 
Better presentations: Gabriel Kuri's colourful metal floor piece sculpture; Stumpf's walls and shocking pink circles.  Dominic Snyder's Performance. 
Best projects: Sik; Balcus & Nieuwenhuize; 
Best international contibution: Christina Ramberg's 1970s early explorations of underwear which led to her famous fetishised bound bodies, at 43 Carlton Place. A return to Glasgow after 34 years. Beautifully housed at elegant 43 Carlton Place, this distinguished Chicago Who artist, (1946-95) was an important first wave US feminist artist


  1. Clare thanks for this. I dont feel as if Ive missed anything and was worried I might have but was exhibiting in Norwich so couldnt make it

  2. Thanks Clare for this rundown on GI . I was thinking of going but will give it a skip. You confirmed my worst fears.