Phil Miller, 'Now a home is where the art is' (The Herald, 12/02/2008)

This year’s Glasgow International Festival will see contemporary exhibitions staged in diverse venues, including an artist’s house, as well as galleries, writes Phil Miller

The Turner Prize winning Scottish artist, Douglas Gordon, is to open up his house in Glasgow as a new gallery for the benefit of the city’s festival of contemporary art.

Gordon, who created the acclaimed movie Zidane: A 21st-Century Portrait, is allowing the Glasgow International Festival of Contemporary Visual Arts (or GI) to use his woodlands terrace home as a venue during the event, which runs from April 11-27.

Gordon, who graduated from Glasgow School of Art and is one of the country’s leading contemporary artists, will allow the festival to use several rooms, the stairwell and a large library in the townhouse to display art works in a series of not-for-profit shows curated by the Glasgow-based art company The Common Guild.

Elsewhere in the festival, which is now moving to a biennial format, there will be Forever Changes: a major show by Scottish artist Jim Lambie at the Gallery of Modern Art, and the exhibition of rare work by Alasdair Gray, the novelist and artist, from a 1975 BBC film that was never made.

GI involves free exhibitions, performances, talks and shows in more than 30 venues across the city, and work by artists at every stage of their career, from those with international reputations, such as Jim Lambie, Simon Starling and Adel Abdessemed, as well as new and emerging talent.

The festival has a theme this year of “public/private” and, to reflect that, there will be exhibitions and installations in both established galleries and “off-site and found spaces.”

“Glasgow’s contemporary art scene is recognised globally as one of the most exciting today,” said Francis McKee, the festival’s curator. “The GI Festival brings together all the key organisations across the spectrum of Glasgow’s vibrant art scene, presenting a unique event rooted in the achievements of the local artistic community while drawing on the international networks linked to Glasgow.”

Of this year’s theme, Mr McKee said: “I felt it was appropriate because so much is changing in Glasgow at the moment. New areas are being developed, and the architecture leaves many open spaces but they are seldom genuinely inviting as public space.

“At the same time, the city’s population is redefining the city in its own way, with different ‘publics’ finding alternative space to flourish.”

“As in any modern city, it is also becoming increasingly difficult to separate the definitions of public and private: if you walk down the street in a private conversation on a mobile while being filmed by CCTV, is that a public or private moment?”

Mark O’Neill, chair of the GI’s advisory committee, added: “In a world saturated with information and images, the challenge to artists to articulate their vision of the world and of what art is, is more difficult than at any time in history.

“The exhibitions across the city in public spaces and non-arts venues will offer the opportunity to see how artists have risen to this challenge.

“GI is an unmissable chance to learn to see in new ways, through the eyes of some of the most interesting and creative people in the world today.”

The Common Guild, which is organising the gallery in Mr Gordon’s home, is also working with the Gallery of Modern Art on the first year of a five-year scheme to improve the contemporary collections of the city. Over the next five years, the £1m project will focus on building a collection of high-quality international photography, film, video, audio and text-based work.

Highlights of a city-wide arts fest The third GI Festival runs from April 11-27 Jim Lambie, the Turner Prize-nominated artist, will stage his largest exhibition to date at the Gallery of Modern Art, called Forever Changes. The Tramway’s 20th anniversary programme opens with a major new commission from Jonathan Monk called Something No Less Important Thank Nothing…Nothing No Less Important Than Something. At the CCA, Catherine Yass will show High Wire, a multiscreen installation focusing on Didier Pasquette’s walk between the Red Road flats. At Sorcha Dallas gallery, Alasdair Gray will show for the first time a series of works created for an uncompleted 1970s BBC TV film.