I came across this exhibition slightly by accident, as per the luminous signs above, I knew there were some MacIntosh exhibitions on at the Lighthouse at the moment. Having an hour to kill before meeting a friend, I thought I’d pop in and see them. Oddly enough, that evening’s official entertainment was to be a discussion panel on the history and future of Scotland’s languages, so the title of this exhibit caught my attention as I ascended the first escalator and ensured that I ascended no further.
(Deidre Nelson takes on the tradition of knitting charmingly kitsch traditional style houses for the tourists, this is the type of house generally found on the ‘ghost estates’ dotted around Ireland in the wake of the housing boom and crash.)
The exhibit is less about language than the title suggests, instead focusing on the reinterpretation of traditional Irish crafts by modern artists. Nonetheless, it was an interesting exhibition, and produced some lovely pieces of work in its own right. Each of the artists included in the exhibition (from Canada, Japan, Ireland and Scotland) used their own myths and materials to create new meanings and stories by combining them with elements taken from traditional Irish crafts and cultural items.
As part of the exhibition, there is a short film of archival footage of the crafts that inspired the artists, with the artists in voiceover talking about how the material influenced them and their art. The footage is fascinating in its own right but regardless of whether you share my affection for that sort of thing, I’d recommend watching the film before you walk round the rest of the exhibit, as it lends the artworks created an extra dimension – Nao Matsunaga’s work in particular makes a great deal more sense after hearing him talk about the boat building tradition that inspired him.
Modern Languages: Reinterpreting the Irish Vernacular, is at the Lighthouse Glasgow until . It is a touring exhibition from the National Craft Gallery of Ireland, more information on where else it will be stopping off, can be found here.