31 August 2022 — Writing

Three questions with Glasgow Sculpture Studios

Image: Pause Fabrication Drawing. Courtesy GSS Fabrication.

In this instalment of ‘Three questions with…’, we speak to Kirsty Hendry, Learning & Engagement Manager at Glasgow Sculpture Studios.

GSS supported and advised on the fabrication and production of the sculptural work that forms a part of deep dive (pause) uncoiling memory. From physical structures to support structures, Kirsty reflects on the process of working with Alberta, and the importance of the deeply emotional aspect of the work, and indeed, life itself.

What are you most excited about for deep dive (pause) uncoiling memory?

It’s such a special body of work – it’s been so exciting to witness Alberta unlocking this new scale and level of production and is a testament to what’s possible when an artist like Alberta has the resources and support structures to match her ambition, criticality, and artistic vision.

There is an urgency to deep dive (pause) uncoiling memory that is intensified by the surreal ‘(art) world made miniature’ effect of the Biennale Arte. It is a body of work that requests of its audience a reckoning with the construction of their own personal and national identities and histories and speaks to the ways that local identities have always been forged by global histories.

I’m excited for folks to experience the collision of past, present, and future which are collaged together in Alberta’s work, not just as a creative or stylistic choice, but to highlight the ways that this experience of time is already in effect; the way the past endures on the present and informs our hopes for the future.

Left: an image of two people sitting on an orange seat that looks soft, watching a screening with a close up of someone's eye looking over them. Right: a gate in the process of being fabricated

Pictured left: Business as Usual – Hostile Environment – A REMIX. Photography courtesy Ian Georgeson.

Pictured right: Fabrication WIP. Courtesy of GSS Fabrication + Mark McQueen

How has working with Alberta impacted you?

There could be so many answers to this question, I feel that a common thread linking them all would be that through both Alberta’s professional influence and friendship I’ve learned to have more confidence in my convictions and integrity. As the Learning & Engagement Manager at GSS, my work often entails bringing folks together who all have very different experiences, perspectives, and stakes in subjects that can be painful, joyous, difficult and rewarding all at once.

Working so closely with Alberta over the past 5 years has taught me not to shy away from this complexity, that holding space for this messy emotional terrain is so vital to what it means to make and share work with others–something I’ve always acutely felt but have been routinely taught to dismiss. Alberta leads by example – that openness, generosity, and empathy can (and should always be!) the foundations of our cultural work, to move at the speed of trust and to prioritise nurturing and building relationships over achieving arbitrary outcomes.

Do you make intentional time to pause?

I really try to but I’m also making peace with the fact that a great deal of unlearning is required by me in order to do this!

I often feel swept up in a momentum that is not of my making and beyond my control. This momentum dismisses pausing, reflecting, reassessing, taking stock as idle, indulgent acts. Alberta’s work is a reminder that pausing is not time that is wasted or frittered away, but a space carved out intentionally for criticality and accountability.

Glasgow Sculpture Studios are the largest art production facility in Scotland, with specialist workshops in metalwork, woodwork, plaster, resin, ceramics and digital fabrication. GSS commissioned Alberta in 2020-21 to work on her project Business as Usual:Hostile Environment. GSS have supported the creative evolution and production of the new work through Alberta’s research and development, as well as by providing in-kind access to footage and content from Business as Usual which will feature on the artist’s new website.

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