This week saw the opening of several exhibitions that are part of the GENERATION programme, celebrating 25 years of Contemporary Art in Scotland and coinciding with the Glasgow Commonwealth Games. As ever, Edinburgh lined all its ducks up at the same time and on Thursday evening the city’s artists’ community enjoyed a round of buzzing private views in its independent and national galleries.
Several ECA staff and alumni, including Paul Carter, Craig Coulthard, Alan Currall, Ruth Ewan, Keith Farquhar, Moyna Flannigan, Kenny Hunter, Tessa Lynch, Rachel Maclean, Jonathan Owen, Katie Paterson, Richard Wright, Zoe Walker & Neil Bromwich are exhibiting in venues across Scotland.
I managed to call in on Katie Paterson at the Ingleby Gallery and Jim Lambie at the Fruitmarket, before making a detour to Ming: The Golden Empire at the National Museums of Scotland (not a GENERATION event, but spectacular nonetheless) on the way to the headline GENERATION exhibition at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, where visitors were fed with a hog roast in the garden.
Katie’s installation at the Ingleby is fascinating and so well suited to the deep history and hard science context of its host city. I was interested to read Jonathan Jones’ review of GENERATION in the Guardian, particularly his (perhaps rather stereotypical) characterisation of Edinburgh and Glasgow as opposing creative poles (‘Heaven’ and ‘Hell’ to use his terms). Katie’s work is certainly celestial in its references. But I have always been more interested in the deep and manifest connections between the art and design ecologies of Scotland’s major cities rather than the divisions. The lazy opposition of Edinburgh/Glasgow doesn’t really do justice to the vibrant complementarity of, and indeed competition between, not just East and West, but Dundee and Aberdeen as well. In that spirit, I’m looking forward to visiting Glasgow-based Ross Sinclair’s Real Life installation at Edinburgh’s Collective Gallery, which is bound to emphasise a more joyful sense of community than Jones gives us credit for.