“A powerful, careful group exhibition which allows the works to shed fresh light on one another”
NOW is a new programme of contemporary art exhibitions that will take place at Modern One over the coming three years. NOW will celebrate the diversity of contemporary artistic practice, and the unique role of artists in society, who, through their work, can offer alternative ways of seeing and understanding the world around us.
This first exhibition in the series launches with a three-room solo presentation by Scottish-based artist Nathan Coley. This will feature Coley's iconic The Lamp of Sacrifice, 286 Places of Worship, Edinburgh 2004, alongside two further sculptural works by the artist: Paul, and the artist's most recent work Tate Modern on Fire, which is being shown in Scotland for the first time.
The exhibition also features immersive room installations by Brazilian artist Rivane Neuenschwander, Glasgow-based artist Tessa Lynch, Pete Horobin and a display pairing paintings by Louise Hopkins and Tony Swain.
We are grateful for the support of Kent and Vicki Logan, Walter Scott and Partners Limited, NGS Foundation, Robert and Nicky Wilson, and other donors who wish to remain anonymous.
On display as part of NOW are the winning entries from the 2017 Tesco Bank Art Competition for Schools. Working in partnership with Tesco Bank, this programme encourages thousands of children all over the country, from nursery to S3, to engage with artworks from the National Galleries of Scotland collection and to be inspired to think imaginatively and creatively.
NOW is a dynamic new three-year programme of contemporary art exhibitions. Between March 2017 and March 2020 the entire ground floor of the Gallery’s Modern One building will be given over to NOW – a series of six major exhibitions, showcasing the work of some of the most compelling and influential artists working today.
This extensive programme will shine a light on the extraordinary quality and range of work being made by artists working in Scotland today, from those at the beginning of their career to established talents with an international standing. It will also feature the work of artists from across the globe, placing art created in Scotland in an international context, and demonstrating the crucial exchange between artistic communities around the world. NOW will highlight the diversity of contemporary artistic practice, and the unique role of artists, who, through their work can offer alternative ways of seeing and understanding the world around us.
At the heart of each exhibition in NOW will be a significant presentation devoted to the work of a single artist, around which group displays and room-sized installations by a range of other artists will be selected to explore common themes and ideas. As well as new commissions and loans from private and public collections, NOW offers the chance to see recently acquired additions to the Gallery’s collection for the first time, and will offer fresh perspectives on familiar, much-loved works.
Louise Hopkins and Tony Swain
Despite creating very different types of work, both Hopkins and Swain use found, printed materials as the surface for their paintings, and both utilise this printed imagery as the starting point for their own compositions. While Hopkins works with a variety of two dimensional printed supports, including photographs, fabric, maps, pages from books and shopping catalogues, Swain solely works with newspaper. In both artists’ work there is a strong connection to landscape and to the creation of new spaces through the process of painting. Sometimes these new environments take on a surreal or uncanny quality, where familiar imagery is made unsettling through the interventions of the artist.
Louise Hopkins, Untitled (169), 2006 © Louise Hopkins. Photo: John McKenzie
Tony Swain, Unpaired, 2004, Purchased with funds from the Cecil and Mary Gibson Bequest 2004 © Tony Swain. Photo: Antonia Reeve
Two works by Brazilian artist Rivane Neuneschwander are featured in the exhibition. The room-sized installation, Colheita (Harvest) 2013-14 comprises 365 shopping lists, and was made by the artist while she was living in London. Between June 2013 and May 2014, Neuenschwander visited supermarkets in her local area and shoppers donated their lists to her.
Each list corresponds to a day of the year and the work is installed in rows that each represent a month. These are then grouped into the four seasons. Harvest therefore not only presents a portrait of a particular London community, but also acts as a calendar that marks time through a mundane, but vital part of life. Despite the different approaches to list-making found in Harvest, Neuenschwander reveals common actions and traits that make us human, in particular, the need to record and make lists in order to remember.
Rivane Neuenschwander, Colheita (Harvest) 2013-2014 © Rivane Neuenschwander
Focussing on her immediate surroundings, Tessa Lynch’s work explores the politics that shape and condition the architecture of our environments.
Wave Machine takes its cue from two Skype conversations; one undertaken on a walk through Glasgow made regularly by Lynch and her young daughter, and another in the artist’s home at night as she completes various household and childcare tasks. The conversations were with curator and writer Jenny Richards, a regular collaborator of Lynch’s who edited the text into its current form. The content of the projected script ranges from the philosophical to the personal, and is peppered with references to artists and writers who have explored the idea of the ‘flâneuse’ – or woman traversing the city in observational mode – as well as referring to the household and administrative actions the two undertake as they speak.
Tessa Lynch, 21. Touches, series of 11 Kitchen Windowsill © Tess Lynch . Photo: Max Slaven
Coley is interested in the idea of remaking something that already exists in the world. The 286 sculptures in this work depict every ‘Place of Worship’ listed in the 2004 edition of the Edinburgh Yellow Pages telephone directory. It therefore offers a snapshot of an area at a particular moment in time through its places or religious meeting: cathedrals, churches, mosques, Salvation Army halls, synagogues and temples.
The work was inspired by an essay entitled ‘The Seven Lamps of Architecture’ by the nineteenth-century artist and writer John Ruskin. Coley’s own title not only draws on Ruskin’s text, but also suggests the sacrifice of time and labour involved in the creation of the artwork itself.
Nathan Coley, The Lamp of Sacrifice, 286 Places of Worship, Edinburgh 2004, A Fruitmarket Gallery / Bloomberg Commission: purchased with funds from the Cecil and Mary Gibson © Studio Nathan Coley
On display throughout this space is a selection of photocopied sheets from the DATA (Daily Action Time Archive) Project; a major work by Scottish artist Pete Horobin which saw him document and archive all of his daily actions from 01.01.1980 to 31.12.1989. The sheets presented are from the years 1980, form part of the collection of the Gallery. The remaining years of the DATA Project are held by the Artpool Research Centre in Budapest, Hungary.
Described by the artist as ‘a self-portrait of a person in an environment of constrained economic limitations’ the initial means of recording was the collection of remnants of his day (food packaging, cigarette butts etc.) which were placed into a small plastic bags stapled onto sheets of paper.
Growing Zeros (Digital Clock) is both a 24-hour-long film and a functioning clock. The wooden blocks are animated by the artist’s hands, furiously moving the seconds, minutes and hours in order to try to keep up with the progression of time. The labour involved in the physical act of making the work is made visible, with the movement of technological process. The pace at which his hands are required to move could be read as an allusion to our continuing race to keep up with the latest cutting-edge digital developments.