Glasgow School of Art third years have taken over the Glue Factory for their annual Fine Art Photography exhibition.
This relatively new space at Speirs Lock is deceptively large with rooms off rooms, walls in unexpected places and tantalising doors round every corner. Perfect really.
The living installations that welcomes us offers hugs to all as we enter, though only some accept the gentle gesture. Beyond their embrace is a range of exhibits including video installations of hearts being sewn up and people eating their favourite foods, though not together – thankfully.
The variety of photos and prints include an eclectic range from a man standing on water to a stark and honest depiction of someone’s stay in hospital. There’s even a screening room with a selection of short films and a makeshift auditorium.
See, experience and enjoy
For me the highlights include a compelling video installation, Look by Pavel Dousěk. The simplicity of a guy initially sideways then turning to look directly at me – intensely – as if he truly sees me, well it sends shivers up my spine. I can’t help but watch him in the video again and again – and still believe that in some way he actually sees me. Haunting.
To restore my sense of peace I turn to Hannah Blackwell’s 124 – a large square print cut into literally 10,000 tiny squares then intricately reassembled on the wall, maintaining the overall image. It’s easy to get lost in the gaps between the tiny squares and look for the image – it almost seems to move.
Bring out your inner artist
But my favourite exhibition is Frank McElhinney’s interactive Safe Passage. Initially I’m greeted by a wall of hand-drawn medieval ships representing the thousands of people who died at Bannockburn. I’m then invited to draw my own ship using coloured ink and rollers laid out by the artist. Once I complete my drawing, I exchange it for a ship from the wall and my picture replaces it, actually becoming part of the exhibition.
An ever evolving selection of ships, change from moment-to-moment as people take existing prints and add their own. And although my mighty ship remains on the wall throughout the exhibition and my friend’s disappears after only minutes – I’m not letting that dampen my spirit. Because not only did I visit an exhibition, I became part of one.
See the extraordinary talent on offer – it’s free and fantastic but fleeting – only on till 2 May.