Thursday, 8 March 2012

Is there anything to do here, is there anything to see?

Rob Kennedy is a Glasgow based artist who had an exhibition in New York called I Love Your Balderdash. Apart from having great titles ((n)either use (n)or ornament is another one of my favourites), he tends to work with musicians and likes great movies. Since his new exhibition is in CCA (nice and central, free to enter, good bar and cafe), I might be able to extend my appreciation into actually seeing his work. 

It's part of the Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art 2012, something I need to start thinking about (as soon as the comedy festival is over...). Kennedy has picked a few drawings and paintings to accompany his video projections - including selections from Walter Sickert, who is supposed to have known the true identity of Jack the Ripper and JĂșlius Koller, big on UFOs. 

It looks like Kennedy is aiming big - apart from having artists that I have heard of in the show, he is messing about with CCA's actual spaces. There is going to be a new entrance. I love stuff like this on the level of a five year old at a funfair - new experiences, the gallery as I have never seen it before. I am starting to worry that the most serious artistic intention - Kennedy is interested in  challenging the way that visitors experience a gallery - becomes a sort of day-glow funhouse in my mind.

Being a performance critic at heart - whether that means I make a performance out of criticism or tend to review theatre is a matter of debate - I find the language surrounding visual art complex. Being the sort of person who gets his information from comic books, I am befuddled by the concepts bandyed around - especially when actually exhibitions are often far more immediate (and even blunt and funny) than Chucklevision. 

There is a suspicion on the part of the artists, I feel, of making the exhibition too obvious. “This is not an exhibition about anything. There is nothing you are supposed to take from it," Kennedy has said. "It is a construction of images, objects and materials that want to converse with themselves, their environment and with you, that’s all.”

I am digging away at statements like this. Is it possible to have an exhibition that is "not about anything"? And doesn't every exhibition involve a conversation between the chosen objects, their environment and the viewer?

Then again, didn't I just say that I treat high concepts like a playground? 

CCA presents a new exhibition by Rob Kennedy, including work by Colin Cook, , Kostas Sfikas and Walter Sickert, for Glasgow International 2012

Friday 20 April – Saturday 2 June 2012, Tuesday – Saturday, 11am – 6pm, Free. 

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