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I'm an arts journalist & PR consultant living and working in Scotland. I've been a journalist for more than 25 years. I write a regular column for Scottish quality newspaper, The Herald. I deliver a PR service with an arty bent and work on a consultancy basis with arts organisations, including Scotland's leading creative industries festival, XpoNorth & broadcast support body, ScreenHI. I am currently co-writing a book about the celebrated Scots artist, George Wyllie, with his daughter Louise. Instrumental in making a celebration of his life's work happen in 2012. For more information, see www.georgewyllie.com When I'm not being a mum/working, I talk to my dog. He laps it up. Contact me on janpatience@me.com (All work © Jan Patience)

Sunday, 18 December 2011

The Sculpture Show @ Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art

This is an unedited version of a preview piece I wrote for The Herald Arts section on 17/12/11

Poster for The Sculpture Show at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh

The Sculpture Show 1900-2012
Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art
75 Belford Road, Edinburgh
131 624 6200 www.nationalgalleries.org
Until June 24, 2012
It’s not often that I pass an art gallery and make a mental note to take my 10-yar-old son. I have a feeling though that the two jet engines currently sitting out in the middle of Charles Jencks’ distinctive landscaping project Landform in the ‘front garden’ of Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art One in Edinburgh, might just pique his interest for more than half a second.

Add into the mix the nugget that the jet engines in question are from US Air Force surveillance planes and I know for sure he’ll want to see them before The Sculpture Show closes next June.

The fact that the artist, Roger Hiorns, has packed the engines with three types of anti-psychotic drugs will probably go over his head as they are apparently ‘inaccessible to the viewer’ but it is typical of Hiorns, who was shortlisted for The Turner Prize in 2009, to create work in this vein.

One of his previous works atomised a passenger jet to fine dust, while another inserted brain matter into the engine of a Toyota people carrier. Then there was the time he filled a corridor of Milton Keynes Gallery with blue juggernauts

It’s clearly a boy-thing...

The hallucinogenic core of Hiorns’ work, Untitled, commissioned by the Art Institute of Chicago last year and on show for the first time outside the US, may well fly over my son’s head, but it sets the tone for a thought-provoking exhibition which sees the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art being given over entirely to sculpture in all its many forms. 

Works from the collection is on show, alongside several major works on loan to provide an overview of the depth, range and breadth of sculpture from 1900 to the present day. 

After a worldwide tour, Ron Mueck’s monumental work A Girl (2006) returns to Edinburgh to form the centrepiece of the show. 

Mueck’s Edinburgh exhibition in 2006 was a memorable experience for all who saw it at The Mound and the fact his giant, painfully detailed work is back in the Capital will surely drawn in the crowds.

A Girl is another artwork which will have your children asking questions. This giant baby shows in forensic detail, the creases, folds, body fluids and alien-like appearance of a a newborn baby in all it’s primordial glory.

Made of polyester resin, fibreglass, silicone, synthetic hair, synthetic polymer paint, this work was bought by the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in 2007.

While Scottish sculpture is included in this show – there is work by Eduardo Paolozzi and William Turnbull, and Glasgow-bred Turner Prize-ites, Douglas Gordon, Simon Starling, Martin Boyce and Karla Black – it is not an overview of sculpture in Scotland. 

Displays include Impressionist sculpture, with works by Rodin and Degas; collage and relief; early twentieth century British sculpture, including Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore; Surrealist works by Alberto Giacometti and Marcel Duchamp. Contemporary sculpture displays will include works by Damien Hirst, Sarah Lucas as well as the aforementioned school of Glasgow School of Art-trained artists.

Also on display will be new work by Nick Evans, a Creative Scotland Fellowship Artist, who has been undertaking a period of research within the galleries over the past six months.

Glasgow-based Evans, who works out of Glasgow Sculpture Studios, was the first ever recipient of  the inaugural Artist’s Fellowship at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, and an entire room of the gallery has been given over to him for the duration of this exhibition.

This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity – a joint venture between SNGMA and Creative Scotland, gave Evans financial support as well as access to the national collections. The artist, who is originally from the south west of England, says that in looking at the collection he has been drawn to the work of Scots artist Will Maclean dating back to 1973, which tracks the demise of ring-net fishing in the west coast of Scotland.

In his work, Evans, a former artist in residence at Tate St Ives, examines the power of objects and the way in which artists, such as Picasso (also represented in this exhibition) and Gauguin respond to the artwork of primitive cultures. 
From jet engines to primitive art, looking at this exhibition, it will bring it home to all of us that sculpture is the real stuff of life – and death.

Art on art: Roger Hiorn's jet engine bits bring a new dimension to Charles Jencks' Landform outside the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art One
 © David Grinly

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