Artists in Profile

Over the last twelve months, we’ve been working with a number of key contemporary artists on a new series of films: Artists in Profile.

Filmed in artists’ studios from Argyll & Bute to Berlin; in train stations, a primary school, the shore of a loch, and the Glasgow Necropolis; these videos aim to give an insight into the spaces where artists create their work, and the places that inspire them.

Working in diverse mediums from paint and photography, to sound and installation, the series features the work of David ShrigleyKen Currie, Raqib Shaw, Susan Philipsz, Christine BorlandWendy McMurdo, Moyna FlanniganMartin Creed, and Alasdair Gray.

Visual art has always been central to Alasdair Gray’s life, but he achieved recognition first and foremost as a writer: publishing his critically acclaimed novel, ‘Lanark’, in 1981. In this film we speak to the artist, and friend Liz Lochhead about his work: his art, writing, and connection to the city of Glasgow.


Alasdair Gray at his home in Glasgow.

Martin Creed’s work has been described as a series of exercises in awareness, with the Turner Prize winner suggesting that his art is ‘50% about what I make and 50% about what other people make of it.’ We visit him in London to hear more about how he deals with chaos, finds comfort in repetition, and how facing the fear of performing helps with letting go.

Martin Creed in London.

Moyna Flannigan wants her paintings to feel like believable places, without representing anything specifically in the real world. We visit her in her studio by the sea to learn more: how she uses collage, her interest in the choreographer Pina Bausch, and why she believes her paintings don’t tell stories.

Moyna Flannigan at her Dunbar studio.

Through drawings, sculptures, videos, photographs and books, David Shrigley's dry humour highlights the absurdity of our everyday fears and aspirations. We visit him in his Brighton studio to learn more about his work: the influence of Dada, the appeal of the absurd, and how a sort-of-cartoonist isn’t really interested in cartoons.

Read a transcript of this video

David Shrigley at his studio in Brighton.

Ken Currie has spent his life being haunted by paintings – artworks that have stayed with him over time. We visit him in his Glasgow studio to learn more about his own paintings, and why he believes that artists only do 50% of the work.

Ken Currie at his studio in Glasgow

Raqib Shaw’s studio is filled with flowers, candelabras, bonsai trees and beehives. In this former sausage factory in South London, the artist and his team create some of the most spectacular paintings of the 21st century. We visit him to learn more about his passion for the Renaissance, his self-imposed exile, and his desire to surround himself with talent and beauty.

Raqib Shaw at his studio in South London

Aesthetics and ethics are key aspects of Christine Borland's work. We visited the artist in her Kilcreggan studio to learn more about her interest in human anatomy, and why it's not a bad thing for questions to go unanswered.

Christine Borland at her studio in Kilcreggan

Wendy McMurdo works with photography and film to explore how technology and identity inform and relate to each other. In this film the artist discusses her belief that photography and social media are like digital mirrors which we hold up and see ourselves through.

Wendy McMurdo in her studio, Edinburgh

Susan Philipsz doesn’t define herself as a sound artist, but for over two decades she has pursued the notion of sound as a physical or sculptural experience. We visit Philipsz in her Berlin studio where she discusses her work, and how she uses sound to respond to the unique characteristics of particular spaces.

Susan Philipsz at Berlin Friedrichstraße station