Alexander Hetherington

Studio Jamming: Artists Collaborations in Scotland, Graham Eatough & Graham Fagen, Full Eye, GANGHUT and Henry VIII’s Wives with an architectural intervention by Studio Miessen, Cooper Gallery, Dundee, 30 June-2 August 2014

Originally published at This is Tomorrow, 17 July 2014. For Katy Dove.

Studio Jamming: Artists’ Collaborations in Scotland, Installation view Cooper Gallery, 2014. Photo by Alan Hillyer.


Studio Jamming is the first discursive survey of grassroots initiatives that form a corner stone to the achievements of contemporary art in Scotland, and is part of GENERATION a major nationwide analysis of some of Scotland’s most prominent artists from the last 25 years.


It simulates the studio environment, and its work in progress aesthetics through Glasgow-trained and Berlin-based Studio Miessen’s temporary primary colour-coded exhibition design – basic graphic shapes: triangle, circle, hexagon, oblong – that function as performative stages, housing the individual groups activities in separate but cross-contaminating projects.


GANGHUT, a “polyphonic spree” of artists from different backgrounds offers up a collectivist campfire of activities: art, music, parades, jam and t-shirt making. Operating under slogans like “Team Work Makes the Dream Work” it forms a collective and highly affectionate celebration of Scottish culture, its eccentricities, introspection and self-deprecation. They sing of a kind of unified “paradise”, insisting on an immunity from or antidote to Capitalism, artistic hierarchies or cultural domineering. Their opening night performance, a captivating concert of songs, quizzes and prize-giving ceremonies, makes a declaration about the potency of storytelling. Their gregarious play brings together audience and artists, a sharing space and situation for delight.


The cerebral and newly formed collective Full Eye share interests in music, vocalisation, sound and abstraction. Their contribution, a new installation of projected video, objects, revolving light and sound, is (self) conscious of perception, meditative spaces and the experiential. An extrasensory space invites us into a place of “deep-listening”, waves of electronic sounds, mutating colours and shifting light. It extols the mantra of mindfulness, a playful experiment at the brink of conscious and unconscious awareness.


Henry VIII’s Wives are an international collective originated in 1997 at the Environmental Art Department at the Glasgow School of Art. Here they present their disparate, extensive and scattered archive in its fullest form alongside the sculpture The Lowest Note of an Organ and a three-screen video Mr Hysteria, a disturbing disjointed script performed by the group and others distributed across a maternity unit, youth prison and newspaper archive in Berlin. Alongside these works is the driving of, from Denmark to Dundee, ‘The Bang Larsen” their homemade boat attached the roof of a car. There exists in the group a bewildered yet determined and maladroit “bound-to-fail” artistic juvenile delinquency. Their accomplishment as a group is this ‘work in progress’ circumstance, their imaginative “mission impossible” potential.


Cooper Gallery’s principal space is given over to a grey hexagonal installation re-staging the five-screen video work Killing Time by theatre director Graham Eatough and visual artist Graham Fagen. It is a fragmented journey of a harlequin wandering between domestic, barren and theatrical environments, abruptly changing between placid and violent scenarios, and witnessing events from his past, present and future. This work plays with and simultaneously undermines cinematic and theatrical conventions in the recitation of action, location, character and plot. These artists collaborative works confronts the individual, often in a brutal light, with their experiences of time, place and their social identity, history and significance.

Alexander Hetherington