1st October – 2nd November, Tuesday-Saturday
With a grand total of six Turner Prize winners, Glasgow School of Art holds an impressive history with the UK’s most prestigious art prize. The TURNER at the Royal Glasgow Institute’s Kelly Gallery brings together work from Turner Prize nominees and winners, all of whom have, at some point, trained at Glasgow School of Art.
Artmag attended the opening of the exhibition, which includes work by 15 esteemed artists including David Shrigley, Christine Borland, Jim Lambie and Ciara Philips, as well as work from prize winners Simon Starling, Douglas Gordon, Richard Wright and Martin Boyce. A small gallery space with so many big names, the exhibition is both an eclectic and concise celebration of artists once belonging to Glasgow School of Art.
As a collection, the artworks are stylistically diverse. A large floral print is central to the gallery space, with animations playing alongside a metallic wall mounted sculpture, a geometric graphic print hanging next to a wooden sculptural piece and a video performance playing on a small screen in the corner. The wide range of media, styles and subjects should not work in such a small space. The collection, however, has been carefully curated and is easy to navigate. By removing labels for the work, curators Sam Ainsley and Adrian Wiszniewski present the viewer not with an excess of information, but a clear collective identity of the GSA from these alumni. Stripped of any written context, titles of the work, artist names, the pieces hang together as a product of shared educational experience. The voice of each artist is so clear in each piece and does not need an indication towards the creator. It is this articulate communication which has earned each one of these artists their title with the Turner Prize.
Shrigley’s short animation Flame imagines an illustrated fly with a blank facial expression, hovering over a flickering candle for a few minutes before tragically busting into ashes. A visitor standing beside me also watching the animation chuckles, ’there wasn’t ever really going to be another ending was there?’ Life and death is communicated by Shrigley through a curious and microscopic lens of observational humour.
This animation is placed a few metres from Christine Borland’s The Quickening, a monochromatic self-portrait showing the artist firing a gun at her own reflection. Borland also explores life and death but through a darker tone of cinematic violence. There are few common themes to the artworks exhibited in The TURNER, this variety makes it an exhibition worth a second viewing.
The TURNER is an uplifting celebration of artists from Glasgow School of Art. With both younger and older visitors attending the preview, the exhibition is not only a statement of the past achievements of these prizewinning GSA artists but the potential of the legacy of their achievements to inform future generations.
118 Douglas Street
Glasgow, G2 4ET
Image: Jim Lambie, Sun Visor, 2014, Archival pigment print with spray paint
Thanks to Lauren Campbell