Upcoming Lunchtime Talk – The Graham Fagen Exhibition

When: Wed 30 July 2014, 12.30-1pm
Where: Reid Gallery, Reid Building, The Glasgow School of Art, 164 Renfrew Street, Glasgow G3 6RF
Free Admission, no booking necessary

Next week Glasgow School of Art’s Exhibitions Director, Jenny Brownrigg and Archivist, Susannah Waters will be giving a lunchtime talk about Graham Fagen’s GENERATION project at The Glasgow School of Art.

GSA alumnus, Graham Fagen, has been invited by The Glasgow School of Art Exhibitions Dept to research Charles Rennie Mackintosh through the GSA Archives & Collections Centre, and to create a solo exhibition of new work to be featured as part of GENERATION. Through the research project, Fagen has examined the work of Mackintosh and his peer group, focusing particularly on concepts of form and place, and has used his findings as a catalyst for the creation of a body of new artwork.

 

Graham Fagen's Work

Image courtesy of ‘Cabbages in an Orchard; The Formers and Forms of Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Graham Fagen Flickr.

 

Early Mackintosh plant drawings were collated with the work of his peers to form a DIY publication called ‘The Magazine’.  Featured works such as ‘Tree of Influence’ or ‘Cabbages in an Orchard’, had text as part of the artwork which taken together with the image offer an insight into the creative thought process.  For this exhibition Fagen aims to present original works by Mackintosh and his peer group alongside the new pieces inspired by his own research. The Mackintosh works will be borrowed from a number of sources including GSA Archives & Special Collections. A book work, influenced by the DIY concept of ‘The Magazine’, will also be produced.

Mackintosh Watercolours

Image courtesy of ‘Cabbages in an Orchard; The Formers and Forms of Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Graham Fagen Flickr.

GENERATION is a programme across Scotland led by National Galleries and Glasgow Life, aiming to tell the story of 25 years of contemporary art in Scotland, to a local and visiting audience for the Commonwealth Games. GSA is part of this programme with this project.

Photographic Documentation

View a slideshow of exhibition documentation images on Flickr.

Short film about the exhibition

Watch a short film about the exhibition featuring interviews with artist Graham Fagen, Exhibitions Director Jenny Brownrigg and Mackintosh Curator Peter Trowles: Vimeo.

More information about the exhibition

Visit the GSA website for more information: www.gsa.ac.uk

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Our Paper Based Archives

As promised we have an update on what has been happening with our collections, starting with our paper based archives.

Here at the GSA we have a variety of paper archives and art work on paper. These include over 2000 boxes of records created by the school and its students and staff, such as the archive of the architectural firm Gillespie Kidd & Coia, the school governor’s notes, ephemera, photographs relating to Glasgow and the school’s exhibitions and events, and the bulk of our deposited collections. Alongside this, our stores house architectural plans, pieces of artwork, the student registers and several original works by Mackintosh (including the Magazine, the architectural drawings for the school and his watercolours, some of which are currently being exhibited in the Reid Gallery as part of GENERATION). This material provides the foundation of the school’s history and these items are often the first to be relied on here in the archive for visitor enquiries.

Fortunately the bulk of this material was unharmed by the fire, however a small section was exposed to water after the fire was extinguished and were the first items to be removed from the building.

Air drying the paper based archives.

Air drying the paper based archives

The majority of records touched by water could be air dried but any records that required more extensive conservation were removed offsite to document specialists ‘Harwell’ where they will be frozen so that conservation work can be undertaken. The rest were assessed by paper conservators from the National Records of Scotland (NRS) who helped to repackage and identify any documents at risk. With the risk of repeating myself, once again I really must say thank you to those from the NRS who helped during this time. Your help was very much appreciated.

Due to the potential risk of exposure to water while the materials remained inside the Mack the decision was made to evacuate the building of all materials as quickly as possible. This resulted in the formation, on Tuesday 3rd June, of a human chain travelling from our stores and winding its way down to McLellan Galleries where these materials were stored temporarily.

The Human Chain

The Human Chain

We would once again like to thank all those who helped form this chain and contributed to the truly immense task of emptying both stores in a single day. These include:

·         Historic Scotland crew, who manned the staircases to pass up the boxes and took apart and lifted all of our plan chest drawers down to McLellan Galleries

·         Volunteers from the GSA staff and associated institutions who generously gave their time

The Human Chain

The Human Chain

Due to this immense endeavour the entirety of our collections were removed from the building and set aside for repackaging and labelling.

Repacking and Labelling

Re-labelled paper archives

Re-labelled paper archives

Once these materials were removed they were assessed by external conservators who offered their services before the process of repackaging and labelling went underway. For this, there are many more volunteers we have to thank:

·         The National Galleries

·         The University of Strathclyde

·         The University of Glasgow both staff and students

·         Museum Galleries Scotland

·         Dewar’s Archive

·         The National Records of Scotland

·         Harwell Document Restoration Service

As the bulk of these collections were in a stable condition they have been moved offsite for safe storage.

 

Archives in Storage

Archives in Storage

That is the current stage of our paper archives and next week we will be providing an update on our textile collections.

Recovery from the Mackintosh Building

The Mackintosh Building

 

It has been a while since we have blogged after the sad incident on the 23rd May, we have been busy here at the Archives and Collections Centre in the process of removing, assessing and consolidating our collections to see exactly what the impact has been. We now have a firmer picture of exactly what has happened and the opportunity to update you all on the situation.

Firstly, everyone from the Archive would like to thank all those who kindly offered their assistance, well wishes and help during the process of evacuating the Mackintosh Building of our collections during this difficult time. These include staff and volunteers from:

  • Historic Scotland
  • Belfor
  • Glasgow Area Disaster Planning
  • Constantine
  • University of Glasgow
  • National Records Scotland
  • Glasgow Museums
  • Graciella Ainsworth Sculpture Conservation
  • Museum Galleries Scotland
  • Glasgow School of Art Staff

All of the people from these institutions have generously offered their time and expertise, and it is a gesture that has been truly overwhelming for us here at the archive. As we are a small team of only five people, I can sincerely say that without all your help the task of retrieving and moving the entirety of our collections over the last couple of weeks would have been impossible. So once again we would like to thank you all.

Another textile saved

Another textile saved

At the moment the bulk of our collections have been removed from the Mackintosh Building. This includes material housed in our plan chest store (many prints, architectural drawings, the Mackintosh watercolours and more); our paper store (containing the school director’s papers, business archives and the bulk of the school’s historical and ephemera materials) and our textile store (that includes works by  Robert Stewart, Grace Melvin and Kath Whyte).

Another piece of the archive saved

Another piece of the archive saved

 

The collections that have been removed are currently in the process of being assessed to ascertain their condition. Where possible, affected material has been stabilised. There will be further posts to update you as work continues.