Delaying Tactics

23 November 2015 - 17 January 2016
11am - 4pm, Tuesday - Sunday
Private View, 22 November 3pm - 6pm

An exhibition of new commissioned pieces by Joanna Peace, Emil Lillo, Cristina Garriga, Jasper Coppes, Conor Cooke and Birthe Jorgensen.
Delaying Tactics is curated by artist Birthe Jorgensen.

‘Time always wins; our victories are only delays;
but delays are sweet, and a delay can last a whole lifetime’.

- Rebecca Solnit

The following words are written to you whilst walking up and down River Kelvin. It is autumn, and due to recent rainfall the river is swollen and fast flowing. Chlorophyll no longer reaches the trees’ leaves. Turning yellow, orange, red, brown and every huein-between, they fall to the ground, where millions of earthworms - ‘the intestines of the world’as Socrates called them - consume and transform the dying cover into potent soil. 

Walking up stream, I feel the force with which the water move towards me, and dark voices of our age come to mind. With plausible arguments about how our environment is irreversibly damaged and elegant descriptions of how our increasingly tech driven lives paralyses us by blurring distinctions between public / private, work / not work they forebode that the end is near. As Paul Virilio has said, we are condemned to the ‘rushing standstill’, that despite its velocity will forever return us to our starting point, and in doing so inevitably erase human consciousness all together.

I turn around and start walking down stream. Falling into sync with the flow of the water on its journey from the mountains towards the open sea, writer Rebecca Solnit, self professed contrarian, interested in everything, and a fierce advocate for hope, appears. Different from optimism, she says, hope, is a stubborn insistence on life, love, our senses, our bodies, our communities and our environment in spite of everything.  Hope is girlish and in a pink dress. Good friends and fellow artists chime in.

Mahatma Gandhi famously said Speak truth to power. In the intimate and distinctly feminine worlds that are opened up to us by Joanna Peace, truth seems to be spoken through the body, to both the tangible and intangible walls that confine us. Through a writing of the body into the fabric of her words, films and prints, Joanna takes us to the tender points of experience. Her female characters are themselves often bound to cities or to an encapsulating building, by repetitive tasks or professions. Through repetition they themselves become conduits for us to states of being and states of place that may be ill-defined and faraway, but through the prism of her work become warm and near.    

In late afternoon sunlight a soft beam slowly moves across the skin of a mackerel lying on a plate with a fork on one side and a knife on the other. In a filmic moment the silvery skin flares up, transporting by way of some participatory mystiqueEmil Lillo toelsewhere. Maybe to the ocean? Home? Or perhaps to his mind’s furthest reaches? At once too fuzzy and holistic to understand, such unexpected, charged moments fill to the brim and lends their grace to that which follows.  Emil’s work often appears to him in this way, offering a sense of something not yet fully formed or defined, but therefore no less urgent or important. A lead that must be followed.

In her pursuit to create communities around private and public collections of books, archives or libraries, Cristina Garriga has come across a peculiar piece of furniture, intended as its name suggests, for a central position at the heart of Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Art School library. Speculation has it that it could have been a four-sided easel and that a large deep zinc bowl in the middle would have been intended for flowers. This possible purpose, placing floral studies at the heart of the art school, siding learning with botanical growth and its fragile beauty, is an insistence on the life, death, life cycle that drive the organic world and perhaps then also our intangible world of knowledge.

Aligning his thinking with the motions, stillness and the incomprehensible perspectives of geological earth time, Jasper Coppes takes us to a place where consciousness is mineral. Elegant and simple in form, through their unexpected materiality, Coppes' sculptural work draws us towards questioning our own complex relationships with ecology. In these realms words are like lumps of soil formed through millennia of composting before hardening into sediments of the bedrock. The speaking of such words have weight, mass and potential.

Where are we when we cannot communicate with fellow human beings through language? Conor Cooke draws on his experience teaching English as a foreign language and on his interest in communication, as he invites us to take the position of absolute beginners through learning a rare language. Conor asks us to embody new and unfamiliar sounds, and in doing so experience a friction inside of the mouth, being for a moment suspended in between what we do and don't know.

Where the river drops to continue at a lower level, a young boy of Asian descent with pink cheeks, a seagull, and a heron stare intensely at the same spot. To my surprise they are looking at desperately late salmon jump. Using their last strength, instinct drives them upstream and inland to pass on their genes and then die. Another fish jumps, the sun illuminates it’s shiny skin and reveals that its body is falling apart. I stay there. Some time passes. Thinking that I am his mother, the young boy turns to me and yells “Did you see it? The seagull caught a wee fish!” I smile at him, and at the fact that his sudden realisation that I am not his mother doesn’t bother him. I say “yes I did”,and then I go home.

Birthe Jorgensen, Nov 2016

Public Programme:

Seminar: Mineral Intimacy
30 Nov 2015
1pm - 6pm

Free event
Booking is essential.

Seminar organised by Jasper Coppes
With talks by filmmaker Duncan Marquiss,  Prof. Hayden Lorimer, Chair of Cultural Geographyand ecological and spiritual activist Alastair McIntosh.
The substance of our bones is pretty much made of the same stuff as the white cliffs of chalky shorelines. In  that sense perhaps we are part-matter too. Join us for a day of talks, ‘gestalt therapy' and a film screening.

Beginner language lessons: The part of speech that’s eggshell
By Conor Cooke

Saturday 5th December at 3pm in the Studio Pavilion.
Learn 廣東話* (Cantonese) with Lin Li. You are invited to take part in a beginner level preliteracy lesson conducted entirely in Cantonese.

Thursday 7th January at 7.30pm in the Studio Pavilion.
Learn The Language of Daad * (Arabic) with Bisan Abu Eisheh.
Book you place here:

Workshop: Without them we are silence
Nov 25 2016
A writing and drawing workshopby Joanna Peace for Project Ability’s Walking Group

Self-directed Residency: MLitt Sculpture, GSA, 2014-16
Nov 23 - Dec 3 2016

As part of the exhibition a mixed group of students and recent graduates from the MLitt Sculpture
course at Glasgow School of Art completed a short residency at House For an Art Lover.