Saturday, 19 September 2015

Specially-commissioned work filmed in the Mackintosh Building is centrepiece of major exhibition at the Turner Prize fringe

Grace Ndiritu prepares for her performance in the Mackintosh Lecture Theatre
  • Exhibition will be Ndiritu's first major solo show in the UK since 2007
  • It will be the debut of her wider practice, and feature video, photography and painting 
  • Grace Ndiritu - A Return to Normalcy: Birth of a New Museum will run in the  Reid Gallery at the GSA from 2 October – 12 December 2015

The Glasgow School of Art is to stage the first major UK solo show by Grace Ndiritu at the Turner Prize fringe it was confirmed today, 21 September 2015. This will be her first major solo show in the UK since 2007 and will be the UK debut of her wider practice of painting and photography. A specially commissioned film, made in the Mackintosh Lecture Theatre in the west wing of "the Mack", will be a centrepiece of the show. The exhibition, A Return to Normalcy: Birth of a New Museum will run in the Reid Gallery at the GSA from 2 October – 12 December 2015.

A British/Kenyan artist, Ndiritu has shown in exhbitions across the globe and her work is housed in museum collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. In 2014 she was featured in “40 Under 40” – the 40 most influential and promising people in the European art world under the age of 40 as identified the leading art magazine, Apollo.
“We are delighted to be able to work with Grace,” says Jenny Brownrigg, Exhibitions Director at the GSA. “It’s especially exciting to be staging a show that both showcases her wider practice and features a new work commissioned specially for the exhibition.”

Artist Rae-Yen Song and others of the 40 participants in Grace Ndiritu's  performance.

The new work, Holotropic Breathing for the Masses: An Afro-futuristic Performance’ (2015) taps into Ancient Egyptian history and ceremonial rituals and features a performative work filmed in the Mackintosh Building with a group of 40 participants last week. 

The work will be a symbolic celebration of a new working phase both for the artist and the Mackintosh Building,” adds Brownrigg. “Grace is going to work with 40 particpants in an event that will evoke the Ancient Egyptian transformational ceremonies of the God Osiris and shamanic ”soul retrieval” practices. It will at once awaken lost memories of the Mackintosh Building before the fire and bring “The Mack” back energetically to life.”

This new film will be shown in the Reid Gallery alongside props and costume from the performance in an installation entitled Holy Mountain (2015). 

Other works on show in the exhibition include the latest edition of Ndiritu’s photographic work - A Quest for Meaning (AQFM). In this the sixth edition she plays with transforming different artistic genres into their opposite, yet related art forms. For example, the exclusivity and rarity of painting becomes a medium of mass produced photography within the piece.

A video work filmed on location at Samyeling Tibetan Monastery in Scotland and Wusha Mikel Church in Ethiopia, Raiders of the Lost Ark (2015) belongs to a new series of videos that references 80's movie pop culture while laying the foundation for a discussion about conspiracy theories that focus on UFO, Parallel Realities, Time Travel and other New Age phenomena.

Workers: Post-Hippie Pop-Abstraction (2015) is from Ndiritu’s new SWEATSHOP series of painting installations, which look at the idea of the sweatshop from three juxtaposing yet overlapping angles:  Indigenous Tribes who are producing culture and spirituality to feed the New Age movement in the West;  The Art Studio - artists who are making objects to feed the art market; Third World Countries - where poorly paid workers make products to feed the luxury, fashion, global consumer market.

Journey's North: Pole to Pole (2009), is a series filmed in Alaska which examines how the indigenous tribes of the Arctic and their culture was forever changed by the explorers and pioneers of the 18th and 19th century and the early ethnographic filmmaking that followed in their wake. The work is shown as a double screen projection.


Further information: 
Lesley Booth 
0779 941 4474 

2 October - 12 December 2015
Grace Ndiritu - A Return to Normalcy: Birth of a New Museum
Reid Gallery, The Glasgow School of Art, 164 Renfrew Street, Glasgow G3 6RF
Open Monday-Sunday 10am - 4.30pm

The first major UK solo show by Grace Ndiritu since 2007 which also marks the debut of her wider practice of painting and photography. Exhibition includes a specially-commissioned film made in the Mackintosh Building.

Entry free

Notes for Editors

Holotropic Breathing for the Masses (2015) An Afro-futuristic Performance
Costume and set design: Grace Ndiritu and Zephyr Liddell.
Production Assistants: Ashleigh Miller, Nick Carlin, Angus Ellway, Martha Simms, Katie O'Brain and Sophie Pitt

Grace Ndiritu (Kenya/UK) studied Textile Art at Winchester School of Art, UK; De Ateliers, Amsterdam 1998-2000: UK studio residency, Delfina Studio Trust, London (2004-2006), International Residency, Recollets, Paris (2013), MACBA & L'Appartement 22, Rabat, international residency (2014), Galveston Artists Residency, Texas (2014 -2015).
Her archive of over forty 'hand-crafted' videos; experimental photography, painting and shamanic performances have been widely exhibited. Upcoming solo exhibitions at Klowden Mann in Los Angeles (2016). Ndiritu’s recent solo exhibitions took place at La Ira De Dios, Buenos Aires (2014), L’Appartement 22 Rabat, Morroco (2014), Chisenhale Gallery, London (2007), the 51st Venice Biennale (2005) and Ikon Gallery, Birmingham (2005). Recent solo performances and screenings include Museum Modern of Art, Warsaw (2014), Musee Chasse & Nature and Centre Pompidou, Paris (2013), ICA Artist Film Survey, London (2011), Artprojx at Prince Charles Cinema London (2009).

Ndiritu has been featured in Apollo Magazine 40 Under 40 (2014); Phaidon: The 21st Century Art Book (2014) and her work is also housed in museum collections such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw and private collections such as the Walther Collection, New York and Germany. Her experimental art writing has been published by Animal Shelter Journal Semiotext(e) MIT Press, Metropolis M art magazine and Oxford University Press. Grace Ndiritu is represented by Klowden Mann Gallery, Los Angeles.

Saturday, 12 September 2015

From flora to Fine Art - international designers draw on myriad inspirations for their MDes collections.

The 2015 showcase of designs by Masters of Design in Fashion + Textiles at the GSA saw fifteen talented young designers from across the globe unveil collections in The Vic on the evening of Friday 11 September as part of The Glasgow School of Art’s Graduate Degree Show.

Designs by Xuenan Cui, Greg Learmonth and Jing Jing Zhou

Designs by  Sujin Lee, Callum McKay and Amy Gair

Designs by Xinyue Zhang, Ellen Carrick and Aleem Ul Hassan

Designs by Ho-Fan Wu,  Yifei Liu and Alanah Greentree

Designs by Hayley McSporran, Emma McAndrew and Tommy Zhong

All photos: Alan McAteer

Inspirations for the designs ranged from floral to fine art, Ivy League University rowing clubs to industrial machinery, sculpture to sweets, and with specialisms embracing print, embroidery, weave and knit.

This year’s cohort includes designers from across Scotland and international students from Australia, China, Pakistan, South Korea and Taiwan.

“We have seen some delightful collections emerge from the programme this year,” says Jimmy Stephen-Cran, Head of Fashion + Textiles at The Glasgow School of Art. “The students have experimented with highly diverse approaches to practice and drawn their inspiration from a varied selection of historical, contemporary and cultural influences”

“Bespoke, couture and highly individual the designs reflect both the many cultures and perspectives of our international students and the creative environment fostered at The Glasgow School of Art,” he adds.


Photo - Alan McAteer

25-year old Xuenan Cui from Beijing, China has drawn the inspiration for her collection from   sweets. She began by photographing a collection of different sweets and translated these into delicate patterns which resembled kaleidoscopes. Having initially recreated the designs in multi-coloured foils she then applied techniques including plotter cutting and a hitter press to apply the pattern to the fabric so that the final pattern had the same intensity and vibrancy as the original foils. The silhouettes of the mainly leather and wool garments are simple to allow the decoration to shine out.

24-year old Greg Learmonth from Glasgow is one of the first cohort of Glasgow School of Art Fashion Design graduates (2014) who have continued their studies at the GSA. His Master’s collection of menswear is inspired by the warm off-white tones of Ivy League University Rowing clubs. Subtle cuts are altered to expose and pronounce delicate areas like that of the neck and collar bone. Wide pleated pants weigh the looks down to the ground, billowing  as the wearer walks. Made of separates the collection is a development of white waxed cotton belted macs, cotton drill bombers, silk jersey off the shoulder blousons and pleated wool pants all finished with classic, graphic silk scarves and ribbed wool sweatbands for the head.

Photo - Alan McAteer
25-year old Jing Zhou from Shandong, China specialises in Embroidery. She has used flowers as the focus of her striking collection of women's wear. Employing a range of techniques and fabrics (including plastic and terracotta) she has created hundreds of vibrantly coloured 3D flowers each of which is unique. The flowers have been applied to garments made in cashmere creating a mass, textural effect.

Photo - Alan McAteer
25-year old Sujin Lee from Seoul, South Korea has likewise taken inspiration from nature for her collection, in her case the park close to where she lived in Seoul. With a background in Fine Art her collection started with hand drawn botanical illustrations which she then printed on to the garments. The aim of her collection is to evoke the dreamlike atmosphere of a mysterious woman who wears a long silky dress walking around the secret garden.

Photo - Alan McAteer
23-year old Callum McKay from Glasgow was also one of the first cohort of Bdes Fashion Design students to graduate from the GSA (summer 2014). For his Master’s presentation he showed a menswear collection in aged denim with a silhouette of large shapes fused with an urban aesthetic. The fabric and aesthetic tap into the history of denim and how in the 1950s an industrial look and fabric became synonymous with youth and rebellion.

Photo - Alan McAteer
24-year old Amy Gair from Lerwick has created a collection featuring woven textiles that draw on the rich traditions and colours of the Shetland Islands. The garments which are made in 100% Shetland wool, cashmere, lambswool and merino capture the movement of lines and colour from her own photography and mixed media artworks. 

Photo - Alan McAteer
24-year old Xinyue Zhang from China is a specialist in Embroidery. Her women's wear collection combines different texture and colours using different embroidery techniques and textiles. The collection features silhouettes that are oversized and freecut, including wide trousers, wrap skirt, and big scarves. Even though it is an autumn/winter collection Xinyue has featured see-through fabric in designs so as to show multiple textures in the different looks. Other fabrics include faux fur, mohair, wool and leather with some beadwork.

Photo - Alan McAteer
22-year old Ellen Carrick from  Glasgow is a specialist in knitwear. For her Master’s collection she has created a range of menswear tops inspired by sportswear. Knitted in mercerized cotton, some of the pieces are embroidered using either the linking machine or are Swiss darned by hand. Street style and subcultures have also had a big influence on Ellen’s work, especially the juxtaposition of smart and casualwear. Keeping the trousers smart and the jackets in a bomber style she has married the tailored and sportswear styles to create a rounded summer men's wear collection.

Photo - Alan McAteer
23-year old Aleem Ul Hassan from Karachi, Pakistan has created a collection based on deconstruction. Attracted towards the process of decay in wood and metal, both of which have different properties yet experience the same process of decaying, he captured this idea and reconstructed it using traditional tie and dye, as well as mixed media techniques.

Photo - Alan McAteer
25-year old Ho-Fan Wu from Kaohsiung City, Taiwan has taken her inspiration from
traditional Japanese culture, in particular the patterns which are normally used on Kimonos: the representative Japanese flowers (such as Sakura - cherry blossom and plum blossom) and geometric patterns.  Ho-Fan Wu has studied ISE KATAGAMI which inspired her to employ the technique of foil print rather than screen print in the collection. The main fabrics for the collection are black flock and black glossy vinyl with black paint vinyl and antique sliver vinyl as auxiliary fabrics. The silhouette for the collection is inspired by the “lamp shade” as seen in both the Japanese subculture - Lolita fashion style -  and in traditional Victorian dresses.

25-year old Yifei Liu from China has explored time in three ways her collection: decay, shelf life and germiculture. To encapsulate the nature of decay Yifei buried a number of the garments and fabrics in soil. Using flock embroidery she has added texts from sell by dates on goods bought and photographed in a supermarket to garments, evoking the film Chungking Express in which the hero thinks of love as like the inside of the supermarket with a shelf life. For the final part of her collection Yifei conducted cultivated bacteria and then used felting to recreate the texture of bacteria on garments.

Photo - Alan McAteer
29-year old Alanah Greentree from Brisbane has drawn on the rugged beauty of the flora in her native Australia to create digital prints on linen and double georgette. She has also drawn on her background in industrial design in the creation of laser cut elements for her collection, ranging from timber embellishments to felt hats.

Photo - Alan McAteer
23-year old Hayley McSporran from Glasgow was the recipient of the GSA John Mather Rising Star Scholarship. Her S K U L P T U R V ( ) I D collection is a range of conceptual, sculptural but ultimately wearable pieces for women's wear inspired by the abstract sculptural forms of Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore.. Soft draped silk and jersey dresses are worn against more structural wool outerwear pieces. Lamifix has been applied to fabrics to create textural and surface structure replicating Hepworth's forms. Haley has experimented with Japanese pattern cutting techniques to create ‘voids’ within the fabric to reflect the apertures and gauged out cavities as seen in Hepworth's and Moore’s work.

Photo - Alan McAteer
23-year old Emma McAndrew from Glasgow completed her undergraduate degree in Textiles (knit)  at The Glasgow School of Art and has gone on to develop her knitted textiles into a full knitwear collection. The men's wear garments, which range from fine knit intarsia jumpers to chunky over pieces, are inspired by industrial machinery.  Materials include Cashwool, (an extra fine Merino), as well as hints of Angora and Lambswool. 

Photo - Alan McAteer
24-year old Tommy Zhong from China was one of the first cohort of Fashion Design students to graduate from the GSA (summer 2014). Since completing his undergraduate Degree he has already been making a name for himself and has been featured in a number of leading magazines including Italian Vogue. His Master's collection has been inspired by contemporary art practice, particularly the works of Anna Betbeze and Leopold van de Ven, fusing hand painted textural marks in primary colours and winter whites, set against a neutral canvas palette. The bold graphic brushstrokes provide a cracked textural surface to faux fur whilst concealing hidden pocket details.

The 2015 Fashion Promenades were sponsored by Buchanan Galleries and Vidal Sassoon and The Academy of Makeup.

Kathy Murdoch, centre manager at Buchanan Galleries, said: “As one of the go-to stops for fashion in Glasgow, we wanted to support the next generation of fashion talent, especially when it’s right on our doorstep.  The Glasgow School of Art fashion designers have promising potential for the industry and it’s an honour to work alongside them as they begin their careers.

Look books for the collections are on show at Graduate Degree Show from 12 - 18 September.  Open Monday – Friday 10am –9pm; Saturday/Sunday 10am - 5pm. Entry free


Further information:
Lesley Booth
0779 941 4474