The Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art 2012 (20 April – 7 May 2012) launched with the unveiling of Jeremy Deller’s Sacrilege, a full-scale, inflatable bouncy castle replica of Stonehenge in Wiltshire. The sculptural installation is sited on Glasgow Green and suggests the public art vogue for the transient notion of wow and spectacle, participation and populism, by transposing a plastic blow-up replica of Stonehenge, which hovers between archaeological and historical monument, and heritage visitor experience. English Heritage describes Stonehenge as “an unforgettable family day out” and the main difference between the two is that the Glasgow version is interactive (it is large and you can bounce in it), while the stone circle, constructed circa 3000-1600 BC, is a spectator experience with a shop and café. The inflatable version was commissioned by GI Festival 2012 in collaboration with the Mayor of London, and with investment from Creative Scotland. Sacrilege will tour around the UK in June, and to London as part of CREATE and the London 2012 festival, with funding from Arts Council England.
A programme of off-site events at non-art, or new-art sites around Glasgow, include Walker & Bromwich’s Art Lending Library Parade, which was part of the opening celebrations on 20th April in a Parade through the streets of Glasgow between George Square and The Mitchell Library. A semi-liturgical procession of artworks – part traditional English fête, part Spanish religious devotional festival of Semana Santa.
The New Easterhouse Mosaic by Alex Frost was inspired by the proto-public art Easterhouse Mosaic, a colourful painted wall created by the community in Lochend in the 1980s. Both new and old mosaics have inspired a programme of associated events to provoke thought and discussion around art in public spaces. The launch of The New Easterhouse Mosaic and exhibition The Old & New Easterhouse Mosaic (& everything in between) by Alex Frost will take place on Friday 27 April, 6pm – 8pm. Commissioned by Platform in partnership with The Glasgow School of Art and supported by GI Festival 2012. Location: The Bridge, 1000 Westerhouse Road, Glasgow G34 9JW
Matt Baker and Tara Beall are lead artists on ‘Nothing about us without us is for us’ In Glorious Govan on the Clydeside. The project, developed with the community in Govan, proposes using direct, unusual or obsolete methods of technology and communication to send messages across the River Clyde. Communications may include: Semaphore flags, Smoke signals, String-and-cup telephones, Homing pigeons Messages-in-bottles (2nd Launch of The Govan Armada) A trebuchet (medieval catapult), A choral serenade (groups singing simultaneously, unsynchronised).
A day of activities takes place on Saturday 28 April, 2012, envisioned as both action and mini-festival, to critically examine the role of art in the transformation of places, in Glasgow and beyond: “a day where the reality of failed communication will be both celebrated and critiqued. It is a project grounded in locally rooted collective action, which acknowledges from the outset the potential futility of our desire for consensus.”
“Nothing About Us Without Us! (Latin: Nihil de nobis, sine nobis) is a slogan for public action and representation to communicate the idea that no policy should be decided by any representative without the full and direct participation of members the group(s) affected by that policy.”
The GI Festival 2012 showcases work by more than 130 artists across 50 of Glasgow’s permanent and temporary exhibition venues and sites across the city, including Karla Black’s Empty Now, an installation made from 17 tonnes of sawdust and makeup at the Gallery of Modern Art. Directed by Katrina Brown, of The Common Guild, the 18-day programme features newly-commissioned works, including dance, film, music, performance and theatre.
Images: Jeremy Deller, Sacrilege; Walker & Bromwich, Art Lending Library Parade; Alex Frost, The New Easterhouse Mosaic; Matt Baker & Tara Beall, Nothing About Us Without Us is for Us (Kelvinhaugh Ferry)