By Neil Stewart
The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art will be completely re-hung as part of a series of events to celebrate the 50th year of its founding. The unveiling of the re-invigorated works will take place during the Homecoming Scotland Finale Celebrations, and will spread across a series of rooms which will throw new light on the collection.
Culture Minister Michael Russell commented: “This collection belongs to the people of Scotland, so I am thrilled that the Gallery is being re-invigorated in time for this year’s St Andrew’s Day celebrations.The unveiling of this major new installation by Martin Boyce is a fitting contribution to the Homecoming Scotland Finale Celebrations. Having just completed a very successful run representing Scotland at the world-renowned Venice Biennale of Art, there is no doubt that Martin’s work is of the highest quality. At the forefront of contemporary visual art, he continues the long history of Scots making important contributions to the world – exactly what the Homecoming celebrations are all about”
The collection held by the National Gallery began in 1960 at Inverleith House before expanding into a larger premises on Belford Road and into the Dean Gallery in 1999. Widely regarded at one of the most comprehensive collections in the whole of Europe, it features more than 5000 works.
The new project aims to bring together an eclectic display of iconic artwork as well as new pieces which have been sourced by the Gallery, and the intention is to present them in a fresh way. There will be a room concentrating solely on Still Life, featuring pieces by Chardin, Morandi and Peploe and also an exploration of the function and treatment of colour at the beginning of the 20th century. A whole room will pull together the various uses of the colour white throughout the ages.
Simon Groom, Director of Modern and Contemporary Art, said: “The 50th anniversary of the Gallery provides us with a wonderful opportunity to celebrate one of the great European collections of modern and contemporary art, and to demonstrate our commitment to collecting and showing the very best national and international art here in Scotland. We are extremely grateful to Homecoming Scotland for their support in helping us bring such world-class art to a wider audience. “
As well as rooms exploring themes throughout history, there will also be a focus on individual artists. Of particular interest will be the center-piece by Martin Boyce. This giant work will be unveiled for the first time, and it entitled Electric Trees and Telephone Booth Conversations. Work by German artist Kitty Kraus – whose work will be displayed this year at the Guggenheim in New York – will also be part of the event. The facade of the National Gallery will be brightened by a work called EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE ALRIGHT by Martin Creed.
Throughout the year the displays will change, and it is expected that new commissions by Scottish and International artists will be a part of the unique programme.