As Glasgow International Opens, Your Guide to The Best Shows to See Across Town

From Linder at the Women’s Library to rare paintings by Serge Charchoune, the exhibitions to see outside of the main programme

BY Chris Sharratt in Critic's Guides | 18 APR 18

Torsten Lauschmann, ‘War of the Corners’, 2018, The Reid Gallery, Glasgow School of Art. Courtesy: the artist

Torsten Lauschmann
The Reid Gallery, Glasgow School of Art
20 April – 7 May

Glasgow artist Torsten Lauschmann’s solo exhibition, ‘War of the Corners’, takes as points of reference everything from Oskar Schlemmer’s Triadic Ballet (1922), children’s soft play cubes and an obscure 18th century critical spat about high and low culture in opera. Combining digital technology and almost William Heath Robinson-like making, there’s something both playful and a little bit creepy about Lauschmann’s close-to-life-size toy figure that attempts but always fails to climb the steps in front of it. Spotlit as you enter the first of three spaces in the exhibition, there’s more automatons around the corner, this time a series of musical instruments ranging from a collapsing crutch with bells on to a one-string sitar plucked by a deer bone that resembles a human finger. Backdropped by digital projections onto gaping ‘holes’ in the mock brick (wallpapered) walls, this theatrical, digitally choreographed show evokes notions of time and artifice – and of new and old technology’s grasp on our lives and imaginations.

Katinka Bock, ‘Radio Piombino’, 2018. Courtesy: the artis and The Common Guild, Glasgow

Katinka Bock
The Common Guild
20 April – 8 July

The Paris-based German artist Katinka Bock inhabits and responds to Common Guild’s high-ceilinged domestic gallery spaces with a series of new sculptural works in copper, lead, clay and fabric. Here, the materials chosen and their process of production have a narrative that links them to Glasgow and its industrial history as well as the much wider story of the post-industrial city (the exhibition’s title, ‘Radio Piombino’, is a reference to the north Italian port once known for its thriving steel works). A few months prior to the show a series of fired clay tubes, gently contorted like twisted human necks, were placed in sites around Glasgow, including a local fish restaurant, a couple’s flat and the mouth of the Clyde river. The effect on their light cream surfaces is subtle but significant, and much of the intrigue in this exhibition is in its quiet detail. Metallic casts of fish are rough with incinerated scales and flesh; objects are wrapped in clay sheets and fired, leaving a slight stain on the inside; copper tiles are weathered in the Scottish rain – Bock’s thoughtful attention to place and materials crackles throughout the gallery’s two floors.

Serge Charchoune, Petite Liseuse, 1933 oil on canvas, 24 x 34 cm. Courtesy: 42 Carlton Place and Oxford House, Glasgow

Serge Charchoune
42 Carlton Place and Oxford House
19 April – 7 May

Occasional gallery space 42 Carlton Place – the home of the artists Merlin James and Carol Rhodes, the latter of whom is also the focus of a GSA lecture during GI to mark the launch of a new monograph – has a habit of putting on fascinatingly idiosyncratic historical shows during Glasgow International. Previous exhibitions have included engaging presentations of work by Louis Michel Eilshemius (1864–1941) and Christina Ramberg (1946–95), and for 2018 James has brought together around 30 paintings from the 1930s and 1960s by the Franco-Russian painter Serge Charchoune (1888–1975). James has been a champion of Charchoune for some time and in 2012 curated an exhibition of his work at Edinburgh’s Talbot Rice Gallery which later toured in an expanded form. Featuring previously unseen pieces, with the majority of the paintings displayed at Oxford House, James contends that during the 1930s and ’60s this associate of rather better known artists, such as Marcel Duchamp, Francis Picabia, Kurt Schwitters and Fernand Léger, was producing experimental and uniquely creative works that anticipated key art movements such as abstract expressionism. This is sure to be an insightful leap back in time to two distinct periods in Charchoune’s life.

iQhiya and the Global Family, Plenary, 2018, collaborative project with mixed media installation. Courtesy: the artists and Transmission Gallery, Glasgow 

Transmission Gallery
20 April – 7 May

A dinner with Glasgow-based women of colour will provide the centre-piece for the debut UK exhibition by iQhiya, a South African collective of black women artists. Taking place in the artist-run gallery on GI’s opening day, the dinner’s conversations and interactions will form the basis of a sound installation that seeks to respond to ‘the gendered and racialized expectations’ of women artists of colour in Scotland. The idea of discussion and dialogue continues throughout the show, with Transmission’s large street-facing glass windows featuring vinyls of the collective’s WhatsApp threads, along with videos of their Skype chats. Displayed inside the gallery and facing out to the street will be chalk wall drawings and other interventions. The show-cum-residency, titled ‘Plenary’, sees the artists drawing on a series of ongoing conversations with the Glasgow women who they describe as including ‘artists, actors and scientists’ who are largely excluded from the Scottish art narrative. The first show at the gallery since losing its status as a Creative Scotland regularly funded organization, it reflects the Transmission committee’s continued focus on decolonization and marginalized voices.

Linder, ‘Bower of Bliss’, 2018, flag, installation view, Glasgow Women's Library. Courtesy: the artist and Glasgow Women's Library; photography by Suzanne Heffron

Glasgow Women’s Library
19 April – 7 May

Glasgow Women’s Library has worked with many women artists in recent years. This commission for GI, titled ‘Bower of Bliss’, has produced a distinctive flag – fluttering above the main entrance and available for closer inspection inside – and a five-minute film projected in the building’s entrance lobby. Filmed at the Mary Queen of Scots Bower, Chatsworth, Derbyshire – where Mary was detained by Elizabeth I – to create the work the artist also delved into the library’s extensive archive, responding to artefacts including 1970s copies of Sappho (‘The only lesbian magazine in Europe’), historical texts on the persecution of ‘witches’, and a collection of misogynist cartoon postcards depicting women as serpent-tongued nags. The resulting film is a collage of haunting punk glamour and feminist history soundtracked by droning violin and dissonant chimes. Also on display are a selection of the archive items referenced during Linder’s research, sketches by the artist, and the Louise Gray-designed costumes featured in the film.

Nick Evans, ‘Sculpture Placement Group’, 2018, installation view, Glasgow Sculpture Projects. Courtesy: the artist and Glasgow Sculpture Projects

Sculpture Placement Group
Glasgow Sculpture Studios
20 April – 7 May

If not sold to a museum or collector, where do newly commissioned sculptures and installations go after they’ve been exhibited? The answer, as the artists behind Glasgow’s Sculpture Placement Group (SPG) are keenly aware, is usually into storage at either great cost or, more commonly, great risk to the work – in damp studios, garages and sheds. In an attempt to address this, Martin Craig, Kate V Robertson and Michelle Emery-Barker are presenting ‘Sculpture Showroom’, which they describe as ‘an adoption service for sculptural objects, seeking to match works of art with new guardians’. Featuring work by eight Glasgow-based artists – Laura Aldridge, Beagles and Ramsay, Mary Redmond, Andrew Lacon, Rachel Lowther, Nick Evans, Felix Welch and Littlewhitehead – SPG stress that this is not a group show, the point being to highlight the issues around what they see as an unsustainable curatorial desire for new work. One of the sculptural installations on show has already been found a new home, but SPG recognize that they have barely scratched the surface of the problem – the accompanying catalogue features 95 works by 54 artists, all of which are ‘offered for adoption’.

Ulrike Ottinger, Ticket of No Return, 1979, film still. Courtesy: the artist / Ulrike Ottinger Filmproduktion

Ulrike Ottinger
Hunterian Art Gallery
20 April – 29 July

This exhibition, curated by art historian and University of Glasgow lecturer Dominic Paterson, brings together films, photography and archive materials from 1977–2016 by the singular German filmmaker Ulrike Ottinger. The first solo exhibition of her films and photography to be held in the UK, alongside more than 40 photographs relating to what has been called her ‘Berlin Trilogy’ of films (1979–84), a screening room will show the short films Superbia – the Pride (1986), Still Moving (2009), and Aloha (2016). Describing the significance of Ottinger’s work today, Paterson says: ‘I felt that her particular exploration of the potential in splicing documentary and fictive structures resonated with a lot of artists’ film made over recent years, but perhaps through a more riotous and unruly mode of practice’. During GI, there is also a programme of six screenings of Ottinger’s feature-length films beginning on Monday 23 April with Ticket of No Return (1979), the first of her films set in Berlin.

For more shows on in Glasgow head over to On View.

Main image: Linder, Bower of Bliss, 2018, film still. Cinematographer Fatosh Olgacher. Courtesy: the artist and Glasgow Women’s Library

Chris Sharratt is a freelance writer and editor based in Glasgow. Follow him on Twitter: @chrissharratt