The Glasgow School of Art MFA Degree Show 2010
Glue Factory, 15 Burns St, Speirs Lock
*a collection of work also appears at CCA.

Glue Factory, Friday 11 June, 5–7pm
CCA, 7–10pm

Exhibition Runs from Saturday 12 – Saturday 26 June
This year’s MFA is sited in The Glue Factory*. Used earlier this year for Glasgow International, the space provides a much less uniform space than the awesome, hangar like Tramway, with odd quirky rooms and warren-like staircases. Today, after weeks of sunshine, Glasgow is buckling under an intense rainstorm, and The Glue Factory resembles a bit of a leaky ship. This is a familiar Weegie set-up then - unsuspecting, post-industrial, grimecore warehouse plays shelter to conceptual work, which in turn pays site-specific homage.
Olga Shulz
It’s possible to identify two broad (and very generalised) strands present at the show. One is the site specific, post-industrial kind mentioned above, the other a more detached practice which relates to contemporary phenomena – chiefly data and the internet.

In the post-industrial, site-specific camp are artists like Sarah Forest, and Olga Schulz, who has installed an interestingly minimal sculptural shelter based on a peeling poster.

Tom Harrup has taken all the heavy-duty rawness almost full circle. His light installations take apart and celebrate machinery – everything is recycled, junk-yard-sourced and unfinished – yet in the darkened space these are two of the most hypnotic and graceful interventions you’ll encounter. Rings of light ebb and float mid-air, a theatre iris breathes a pattern against a dull brick wall.

Perhaps Tom is the conceptual bridge to the other camp of artists who deconstruct the technical and the digital. Ellie Harrison needs no prior introduction to Central Station members, and her works often have an online presence. She shows her witty General Election Drinking Game in it’s entirity here. Emily Donnini has made a slick piece which re-presents top google-searches of various countries as stop-frame animations back-projected onto floated glossy perspex screens.

Maybe the most intriguing graduate is Oliver Braid. Braid has presented a framed drawing – six pencil portraits in a detailed but slightly schoolboy style. Five of the portraits are of male graduating BA artists whom Braid considers to be the ‘hottest’ in the year. The images are culled from their Facebook profiles. The 6th image is a distorted reimagining of the artist as a sort of Facebook Zombie. A tangled off-white sculpture made from glue sits atop the frame – “the content of his gluepot”, Graham Ramsay, one of the MFA tutors explains.

How do I begin to unravel Post-Relational Aesthetic Onanism via Social Networking? Do I even want to? Seeing as we’re exploring the medium here, I have, in the interests of thorough research, befriended Oliver Braid on Facebook*, and will attempt to get him onto this very platform, and perhaps he can have the last word. Who knows, he may already be lurking as I write. In the meantime, here’s a Quentin Crisp quote from his artist’s statement:

“People who have learned to sing will always have richer, rounder voices. People who’ve learned to dance will always have bigger, bolder movements, but as for pottery and basket-weaving, what good are they? The moment the doors of the evening institute clang shut behind you you are back where you started. On the way home you might get into an argument with a stranger at a bus stop. It’s no good saying I can’t express myself you’ll have to come and see my baskets.” Quentin Crisp, 1980

*UPDATE. Friend request accepted.

Thanks to Graham Ramsay, MFA Tutor, for the tour, and to Kirsty Barr for organising.