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Glasgow International: Our Highlights

By Gemma Batchelor, 11.06.2021
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Laura Aldridge, PHYSICAL CULTURE: Raise your vibration and stick this up where it will do some good IRL, 2019. Courtesy of the artist and Kendall Koppe, Glasgow.

Glasgow International, Scotland’s biennial festival of contemporary visual art, opens today, running until 27th June. After much postponement from April 2020 due to the circumstances we know too well, the festival now opens with exhibitions, performances and talks in over 30 physical spaces across Glasgow as well as online.

The theme of the festival is ‘attention’, inviting audiences to the people, things, materials and environment around us, and how art fits into this. However, the theme might now take on very different meanings from those thought of in the early months of 2020. As GI Director Richard Parry puts it, “It is notable that given all of the changes, emotions and earth-shattering events of the past year, the theme of Attention has retained its resonance, adapting and shifting in emphasis as the world has morphed around us.”

As ever, the festival is set to be an exciting feast for the eyes (amongst other senses), presenting work by over 100 artists, working in all types of media. We have selected just a few highlights…

Laura Aldridge, Leanne Ross, Judith Scott | The Outside is Inside Everything We Make

Kendall Koppe 2021

The Outside is Inside Everything We Make is a group exhibition conceived by Glasgow-based artist Laura Aldridge. The exhibition, though objects wrapped in endless layers of fabric and painted slogans describing routines of the everyday, challenges the limiting value systems imposed upon creativity.

Jimmy Robert | Tobacco Flower

The Hunterian Art Gallery

Jimmy Robert, Untitled (belladonna), 2007 / 2015. Courtesy of the artist and Tanya Leighton Gallery.

Robert’s new project focuses on relationships between Europe and the Caribbean, in particular traces left by Glasgow’s role within colonialism. The artist engaged directly with the Hunterian’s historical collections to aid this exploration, drawing most prominently on tobacco flower textile designs by Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Robert’s response works across film, photography and sound.

Alberta Whittle | business as usual: hostile environment

Glasgow Sculpture Studios

Alberta Whittle, business as usual: hostile environment [production still], 2021. Courtesy Glasgow International and the artist.

Alberta Whittle presents a new body of work investigating the colonial history of the Forth and Clyde canal as well as the role of waterways in the movement of people and their relation to sites of renewal and regeneration. The project is presented through an outdoor screening program of a new film and works by other creative partners alongside a series of audio works that can be listened to whilst going along the Forth and Clyde canal.

Iman Tajik | Bordered Miles

Listen Gallery

Iman Tajik, The Dreamers, 2019 – 2020. © Iman Tajik. Supported by Deveron Projects.

Bordered Miles is an exhibition as well as a live streamed group walk from the centre of Glasgow to Dungavel House Immigration Removal Centre, around 25 miles south of the city. In this way, Tajik has continued his interest in making work with participants to sit in the public realm. This project invited the participants to pay attention to the movement of bodies as a natural right of any species.

Carol Rhodes | See the World

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

Carol Rhodes, River, Roads, 2013. Courtesy Alison Jacques Gallery. © Carol Rhodes Estate.

This first posthumous museum exhibition of Rhodes’ work focuses on rarely exhibited drawings alongside key paintings. Both present semi-fictional landscapes that present liminal spaces in our landscape, such as airports, brownfield sites and service stations. Within these detached, aerial viewpoints, human activity is everywhere yet invisible.

Sekai Machache, Thulani Rachia | These Stories…

Heritage Centre, Studio Pavilion at House for an Art Lover

Sekai Machache, the Divine Sky, 2020. Courtesy the artist.

A twinned pair of solo exhibitions, These stories… brings together fragments of history and mythology. The two artists share an interest in quantum superposition, the state in which a particle can exist in two places in space simultaneously. As both artists are part of the African diaspora, this state of being is part of their own lived experience.

Glasgow International runs 11th– 27th June 2021. For more information on the programme and individual venues see the website.