The work of a diverse range of internationally-renowned contemporary and modern artists is to be showcased throughout 2015 in Reflections, a dynamic new series of displays at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art.
Major works from the Gallery’s permanent collection will be shown alongside important loans to highlight the many ways in which artists engage with, and reflect upon, the world around them, raising questions about society, the human form, materials, image-making and art itself.
Reflections includes recent work by British artists such as Cathy Wilkes and Martin Creed, the Americans Louise Lawler and Taryn Simon, and Mexican artists Gabriel Orozco and Abraham Cruzvillegas.
The exhibition’s title was suggested by a number of large-scale prints by American Pop artist Roy Lichtenstein, which feature in a new Artist Rooms exhibition, as part of the programme
At the heart of Reflections will be a selection of almost 50 drawings, prints and photographs of the human head, drawn from the National Galleries of Scotland’s historic, modern and contemporary collections. This fascinating display shows the incredible variety of approaches that artists have used in reflecting upon our sense of being in the world, and how we reflect ourselves to other people. Among the highlights will be two outstanding works by Pablo Picasso, including a recently-acquired cubist drawing, Head (1912).
The display also includes works from many different periods and styles to explore how ideas around the head have changed. It includes, for example, traditional portraits, such as Lorenzo Lotto’s 480 year-old Portrait of a Bearded Man and Edvard Munch’s Self-Portrait 1895, as well as more experimental treatments by Karl-Schmidt-Rottluf (St Francis, 1919); Francis Picabia (Subtlety, 1928); Eduardo Paolozzi (Head, 1946); Andy Warhol (Jacqueline Kennedy II, 1965); and Douglas Gordon (Monster, 1996/1997).
Other highlights of Reflections include a newly-acquired work by the acclaimed American photographer, Taryn Simon, A Living Man Declared Dead and Other Chapters (2008-11). Produced over a four-year period, these photographic prints were made after Simon (b.1975) travelled the world researching and recording family lineages and their related stories. Each chapter contains a sequence of portraits and a central text panel containing narratives and footnote images. Absences, as a result of factors including imprisonment and military service, are included as ‘empty portraits’ to powerful effect. The work on show here, Chapter VIII, one of 18 chapters in the larger project, maps the devastating effects of foetal Thalidomide absorption through generations of one Scottish bloodline.
Martin Creed (b.1968) will be unveiling a newly-commissioned wall drawing made in response to Modular Structures (Sequential Permutations on the Number Five) 1972, a ‘structure’ work by the American minimalist artist Sol LeWitt (1928-2007). Employing a patchwork of over 170 different colours, this bright and expansive new wall painting will be shown alongside a series of Creed’s drawings and a recent work on canvas.
Reflections also marks the first time the work of influential American artist Louise Lawler will be shown in Scotland. Lawler is primarily known for using photography but her practice encompasses a range of media. The works on display at Modern One are part of a series of ‘tracings’ Lawler first made in 2013. For these, she selected a number of her own photographs and collaborated with a children’s illustrator to transform her compositions into line drawings, like those found in colouring books. Printed onto vinyl then pasted onto the gallery wall, the resulting images show the work of other artists, captured in a range of locations, from collectors’ homes to museum stores. Focusing on how objects have been arranged, and with domestic furniture, crates and trolleys given as much emphasis as the artworks themselves, these works explore how the specific context affects how we see and experience an artwork.
Also on display is a room devoted to work by two Mexican artists, Gabriel Orozco (b. 1962) and Abraham Cruzvillegas (b.1968). The Pinched series by Orozco features three beautiful abstract sculptures cast in highly reflective aluminium, which are scaled-up versions of shapes created by the artist pinching together a small piece of wax between his thumb and forefinger. Accompanying these works is a sculpture by Abraham Cruzvillegas entitled El Travieso (An Emotional Craft) 2012. Composed from a diverse range of materials primarily sourced by the artist in Mexico City and California, the work draws on the culture, music and dress of the Parisian Zazou, Californian Zoot Suiters and Mexican Pachuco movements.
The display will also feature We Are Pro Choice (2007), an important installation by the Glasgow-based artist Cathy Wilkes (b.1966), as well as video works by the French artist Aurélien Froment.