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Showing posts from July, 2022

Joyce Laing - An Obituary

Joyce Laing – Art therapist   Born April 1939; died July 17 2022     Joyce Laing, who has died aged around 83, was a pioneer of art therapy, whose work with psychiatric patients and long term prisoners helped unlock means of creative expression that transcended lives. In the 1970s, she played a key role at Barlinnie Special Unit, the experimental Glasgow prison wing where violent hardmen were liberated by Laing’s techniques. The best known of these was Jimmy Boyle, the convicted murderer who went on to became a successful sculptor.   “He was suspicious,” Laing told the Glasgow Times in 2017 of Boyle’s initial response to her. “He thought this was too good, it couldn’t be happening. He thought ‘this woman must be a spy’.”   Laing was speaking prior to an exhibition at Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery in Glasgow of work from the Special Unit drawn from her own collection of sketchbooks, newspaper cuttings and photographs, as well as paintings and sculptures by inmates.   prior to Laing

Céline Condorelli: After Work

The hard labour is almost done for London based artist  Céline Condorelli  the day before After Work, her sprawling compendium of installations, interventions and disruptions, opens at Talbot Rice Gallery in Edinburgh. All that is left for the University of Edinburgh's run institution’s team of technicians and installers to do is to put the finishing touches on Condorelli’s constructed evocations of gardens, adventure playgrounds and sports centres. These are set alongside images drawn from tyre factories and the everyday graft most people undertake before clocking off for weekend outings that might well include gallery excursions and suchlike.    Those bringing Condorelli’s visions to temporary life are the art world’s key workers, who remain largely unseen to the public, but who make things tick. Without them, the exhibitions we take for granted simply would not happen. This is something Condorelli is acutely aware of, both in the social make up of her constructions and in her re

Channels - Edinburgh Art Festival Commission 2022

Things have come a long way for the Edinburgh and Glasgow Union Canal since it first opened for business in 1822. This should be apparent when Edinburgh Art Festival presents   Channels , a series of new public works by four artists, curated by this year’s EAF Associate Artist, Emmie McLuskey, as part of the festival’s 2022 commissions programme.    From Lochrin Basin to Wester Hailes, works by Maeve Redmond, Hannan Jones, Amanda Thomson and Janice Parker navigate their way through the waterway’s rich flow of history by way of sign writing, sound, botany, writing, and dance.   “ The canal kind of sits outside of the main bit of the city, and it's got a really interesting history in relation to industry,” says McLuskey,  EAF’s second Associate Artist following on from Tako Taal in 2021 . “This is obviously a huge generalisation, but Edinburgh doesn't necessarily see itself as an industrial city.”   McLuskey was attracted to  Channels  by way of another project she was working on

Ivo van Hove – A Little Life

Ivo van Hove initially resisted reading A Little Life, Hanya Yanagihara’s 2015 novel. This despite the Belgian theatre director being gifted the book twice by friends, who declared Yanagihara’s 814-page epic was something definitely for him.   Van Hove was familiar with A Little Life’s success, and presumed Yanagihara’s story of four friends in New York to be a gay rites of passage.  Being given the book twice, however, piqued his curiosity. When he eventually opened it, he discovered the novel’s apparent premise to be a sucker punch that opened out onto an altogether more troubling world, in which one of the friends, Jude, a man emotionally and physically damaged to a self-destructive degree, becomes the book’s central focus.    “ I couldn't stop reading it,” van Hove says. “It's the book that you don't want to read but you cannot stop, and you know it's going to end terribly, but you still can’t stop.”    When Van Hove applied for the rights to stage Yanagihara’s stor

Jobs for the Boys - Boys from the Blackstuff Forty Years On

The Black Stuff   Storm clouds were already gathering over an increasingly broken looking Britain by the time Boys from the Blackstuff was first screened in October 1982. Alan Bleasdale’s five-part drama focusing on the everyday struggles of a gang of Liverpool labourers thrown on the dole seemed to chime with ongoing political dramas in the real world. The stakes had been raised considerably following the Conservative Party’s landslide victory in the 1979 general election, which put Margaret Thatcher in Downing Street for the next decade.   Bleasdale’s series was a spin-off from The Black Stuff, the one-off drama that first introduced the world to Chrissie, Loggo, Dixie Dean and his son Kevin, old George Malone, and of course Yosser Hughes. When first aired in 1980, Bleasdale had already written much of the five scripts it sired prior to Thatcher receiving the keys to number 10. Just as the revolutionary fantasia of Lindsay Anderson’s film, If…, captured the zeitgeist of the previous