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We met with Claire Jackson, senior curator at Tramway Glasgow and Anas Sarwar MSP (Glasgow) on Friday 6th September 2019 for another great Art in Action visit.

Although Anas Sarwar is very aware of the venue and the work that they do to attract a large and diverse audience, it was great to invite him to Tramway to talk in more detail about the work that goes on behind the scenes and also everything that the team does to collaborate with international and local artists, whilst being a popular cultural space for the local community.

Claire gave Anas a tour of both exhibitions: Facecrime by Jonathan Baldock and Until by Nick Cave.

Facecrime is the first solo exhibition in Scotland by artist Jonathan Baldock (b. 1980) who works across multiple platforms including sculpture, installation and performance. Baldock has an ongoing interest in the contrast between the material qualities of ceramic and fabric, drawing them together in his theatrical installations and sculptural assemblages. Tramway worked in partnership with Camden Arts Centre in London, who commissioned the work to bring it to Glasgow.

Drawing from histories of labour, folklore and storytelling, Baldock experiments with glass, basketry and spinning to highlight the decline of traditional making and skills lost due to technology.

Until, organised by MASS MoCA, Massachusetts and co-produced with Carriageworks, Sydney and Crystal Bridges/The Momentary, Arkansas is artist Nick Cave’s largest and most ambitious project to date. Cave who lives and works in Chicago is renowned for his Soundsuits, compelling and ornate figurative sculptures that can be worn and performed. An artist whose work has been driven by the social and personal impact of racism for close to three decades, Cave created his first Soundsuit as a form of both camouflage and symbolic body armour, an insulating layer of accumulated materials and meanings.

In Tramway’s main gallery, Cave exhibits a massive immersive installation made up of thousands of found objects which make viewers feel as if they have entered a rich sensory tapestry, akin to stepping directly inside the belly of one of his iconic Soundsuits. The show references complex issues of gun violence, racial profiling and gender politics that currently divide the United States of America, and the extension of these matters in communities around the world.

It was fantastic to have the opportunity to tell Anas that, over the last 3 weeks, there have been around 9,000 visits to Tramway to see these exhibitions alone, cementing Glasgow’s reputation as an important city for contemporary art. An exhibition on the scale of Until also provides employment opportunities for the large number of technicians and skilled people to help construct the work and make it come together.

Over the exhibition period, Anas learned that the space will also be used for a number of community events including Altered States and Human Threads, a project with Artlink, one of our campaign case studies.  These workshops will focus on how the shared experience of art can honour the human threads that connect people with profound learning disabilities to the wider world, and the wider world to them.

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