Last night, the art world gathered en masse at Kelvingrove Art Gallery for the launch of Glasgow International. Now in its 5th year, the 18-day festival has wedged over 130 artists in the city's every nook and cranny, from disused shops to large-scale museums and pretty much every possible venue in between. At Kelvingrove, 2009 Turner Prize-winner Richard Wright delighted the crowds with the first presentation of his works on paper in the "Italian Art" gallery. The ongoing series is punctuated by architectural fragments floating on the white expanse of the paper sheets, abstract patterns mirrored ad infinitum as if seen through a kaleidoscope, fire turning into gold symbols. The pieces' modest size stands in stark contrast with Wright's signature wall paintings, but these works are imbued with potential for the monumental. Each reveals a more intimate facet of the artist's method, as if offering a glimpse into his mental processes.
The private view continued at Tramway, which felt like a small festival in itself, with performative events taking place in several rooms. The most striking perhaps was "The Making of Us," a collaboration between theatre director Graham Eatough, visual artist Graham Fagen, and director of photography Michael McDonough. Viewers stumbled across what looked like a film set, complete with cameras, actors waiting to play their parts, technicians shouting this and that. Then: "Action." At some point last night, a young man in a suit left a mock TV studio to hang himself from the only tree of a fictional forest. "Cut."
This morning, Jeremy Deller is unveiling his plastic inflatable version of Stonehenge. Other highlights include Rosalind Nashashibi's "behind-the-scenes" with the Scottish Ballet at GI Hub, Karla Black's powdery pastel sculptures at GoMA, and Wolfgang Tillmans' solo presentation at The Common Guild. The line-up is safe, but unlikely to disappoint.
Read a full review of Glasgow International on ARTINFO UK next week.
Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art, April 20-May 07, 2012, throughout the city