Skip to main content

Alan Dimmick's studio archive 1977-2017

Stills Gallery, Edinburgh until April 9th
Four stars

Gazing across the two walls that house more than five hundred photographs by Glasgow photographer Alan Dimmick is akin to skimming through a personal scrap book of a city's entire culture. Witnessed first hand, Dimmick's lens moved through its underground that defined it as its habitu├ęs went on to change that city's landscape forever. As Dimmick's archive moves through four decades of gatherings and gigs, art openings happenings and hang-outs, his studiedly black and white images capture a world off-guard and in motion, as his subjects pose for all they're worth, recognising the ridiculousness of the situation as they go.

Presented in defiantly slap-dash-but-not-really non-chronological order, here are several generations coming together to party, play, protest and perform both offstage and on as they make spectacles of themselves en route to making a scene. The images come in all shapes and sizes, and are as much about Dimmick being there in the thick of the action as he is just a step outside of it as an active observer.

Shown as part of this year's edition of Stills' ongoing annual Collection series of archives, and seen in tandem with photographer David Eustace's Works from a private photography collection of prints loaned from his personal collection, Dimmick's archive chimes with other excavations of assorted local scenes.

The rediscovery of photographer Harry Papadopoulos' iconic images of post-punk Scotland shown at Street Level in Glasgow in 2014 as What Presence! was equally vital. Dimmick's presumably ongoing collection arrives too just as Scot-Pop documentary films Lost in France and Big Gold Dream have been released. David Keenan's new novel, This is Memorial Device, meanwhile, reimagines a small-town music scene in an audaciously baroque fashion. As with all of those, there is a sense with Dimmick's work of times and places lost in a collective rites of passage captured in the most fleeting of long-cherished but half-forgotten moments that have now become the stuff of legend.

The List, February 2017

endsends

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Honourable K.W. Harman: Ltd Ink Corporation

31 Bath Road, Leith Docks, March 17th-20th

In a monumental shipping container down by Leith Docks, a Sex Pistols tribute band is playing Anarchy in the U.K.. on a stage set up in the middle of the room. Either side, various constructions have been built in such a way so viewers can window shop as they promenade from one end of the room to the next, with the holy grail of a bar at either end.

Inbetween, there’s a confession booth and a mock-up of a private detective’s office with assorted documentation of real-life surveillance pinned to the walls. Two people seem to be having a conversation in public as if they're on a chat show. An assault course of smashed windows are perched on the floor like collateral damage of post-chucking out time target practice. A display of distinctively lettered signs originally created by a homeless man in search of a bed for the night are clumped together on placards that seem to be marking out territory or else finding comfort in being together. Opp…

Scot:Lands 2017

Edinburgh's Hogmanay
Four stars

A sense of place is everything in Scot:Lands. Half the experience of Edinburgh's Hogmanay's now annual tour of the country's diverse array of cultures seen over nine bespoke stages in one global village is the physical journey itself. Scot:Lands too is about how that sense of place interacts with the people who are inspired inspired by that place.

So it was in Nether:Land, where you could see the day in at the Scottish Storytelling Centre with a mixed bag of traditional storytellers and contemporary performance poets such as Jenny Lindsay. The queues beside the Centre's cafe were further enlivened by the gentlest of ceilidhs was ushered in by Mairi Campbell and her band.

For Wig:Land, the grandiloquence of the little seen Signet Library in Parliament Square was transformed into a mini version of the Wigtown Book Festival. While upstairs provided a pop-up performance space where writers including Jessica Fox and Debi Gliori read eithe…

Nomanslanding

Tramway, Glasgow until July 2nd
Four stars

In the dead of night, the audience are split in two and led under-cover into lamp-lit tented structures. Inside, what look like peasant women on the run lead us down a ramp and into a large circular pod. It feels part cathedral, part space-ship, and to come blinking into the light of such a fantastical structure after stumbling in the dark disorientates and overwhelms. Sat around the pod as if awaiting prayers to begin, we watch as performers Nerea Bello and Judith Williams incant mournfully on either side of the room. Their keening chorales embark on a voyage of their own, twisting around each other by way of the international language of singing. As if in sympathy, the walls wail and whisper, before starting to move as those on either side of the pod are left stranded, a gulf between them.

This international co-commission between Glasgow Life and the Merchant City Festival, Sydney Harbour Foreshaw Authority in Australia and Urbane Kienste …