Rewind: A posse of Scots

Strangely Familiar, installation view, ACCA, 1998. Courtesy ACCA Archive

A posse of Scots
Juliana Engberg

A posse of Scots – Toby Webster, Nicola White and Charles Esche (adopted Scot) travelled to Australia at the invitation of Nick Tsoutas, Director of Artspace, Sydney in 1996.  The intention was to develop the possibility of exchanges between Sydney and Scotland and enhance the already established connections made by artists such as Narelle Jubelin, Kate Daw, and others who had attended and travelled to the Glasgow Art School as visiting faculty and students.  

As part of their research into things antipodean, the trio also visited Melbourne.  Along with Max Delany and myself at Heide, they met Charlotte Day at Gertrude Street, Stuart Koop at the CCP and Clare Williamson at ACCA. Whether it was something in the water, a recognition of Melbourne’s 19th century industrial roots or our artist-led community arts culture similar to that of Glasgow, it was to be a meeting of minds, art – and humour. An instant sympatico and attraction.   

Following the Scots visitation, in 1997 Max, Charlotte, Stuart and Clare travelled to Scotland, and in 1998 researching for the Melbourne International Biennial, I made numerous studio visits and became a visiting critic at the art school for a time. From these mutual contacts a set of exhibition collaborations and projects emerged.  The links between Scotland, and in particular Glasgow, have been profound since that time with many visits, exchanges, residencies, exhibitions and opportunities occurring between Melbourne and its northern cousin.  

In 1998, under the uniting banner of Morning Star Evening Star, at Heide, Max Delany curated Strolling including works by Nathan Coley, Martin Boyce, Simon Starling and Shauna McMullan, an exhibition investigating architecture, urbanism and cities.  200 Gertrude Street hosted a residency for Graham Ramsey.  At ACCA, a group exhibition curated by Clare Williamson, Strangely Familiar, exhibiting works by Scots, Dalziel and Scullion with Australian based artists, Nicola Loder, Leslie Eastman, Andy Thomson, and Daniel von Sturmer.  The exhibition sought, according to the press release, to ‘entice us to stop and look at the world around us’.

Nicola Loder, Untitled, 1998. Courtesy the artist and ACCA Archive

In Glasgow and Edinburgh, Morning Star Evening Star manifested as a suite of exhibitions at Stills, Collective and Transmission galleries including works by David Noonan, Daniel von Sturmer, Hany Armanious, Kate Beynon, Elizabeth Go, Jacinta Schreuder, Danius Kesminas, and Callum Morton together with Scots, Jim Lambie, Mary Redmond, Cathy Wilkes, Victoria Morton, Martin Boyce, Lucy McKenzie, John Ayscough, Brett Valance, and David Michael Clarke.

In 1999, a hauntingly beautiful a capella ‘round’ by Susan Philipsz, and works by the video performance duo, Smith and Stewart where included in the Melbourne International Biennale: Signs of Life. Works by Christine Borland were included in HUMID at ACCA in 2001, and Christine also featured as a solo artist in the Melbourne International Festival at the Anna Schwartz Gallery venue in that same year.  Simon Starling recently returned to Melbourne at the Monash University Museum of Art with a survey of his research based art-convolutions.  In-between times, ACCA has presented a number of significant projects with Nathan Coley, Jim Lambie and most recently its major, selected survey of works by Douglas Gordon.  

In 2012 ACCA established the ACCA/Common Guild Alliance to continue to pursue collaborations and exchanges between Melbourne and Glasgow.  ACCA created a Pop Up in the Glasgow International 2012 with David Rosetzky showing his ACCA commission How to Feel, Bianca Hester creating a number of urban performances and sculptural events, Joshua Petherwick displaying montage posters in the Glasgow underground, Marco Fusinato performing a sonic event, and Laresa Kosloff re-staging her ACCA commission, The Green Text at the The Partickhill Bowling Club.

Juliana Engberg has been the Artistic Director of ACCA since 2002. In 1998 she was at large as the inaugural Artistic Director of the Melbourne International Biennial.

Strangely Familiar. Melbourne Scotland Cultural Exchange
29 August – 4 October 1998
Curated by Clare Williamson
Artists: Dalziel and Scullion (Glasgow) with Nicola Loder, Leslie Eastman, Andy Thomson, Daniel von Sturmer (Melbourne)

11 October – 25 November 2001
Curated by Juliana Engberg
Artists:  Christine Borland, Kate Daw, Tacita Dean, AK Dolven, Ann Hamilton, Mariele Neudecker, Pipilotti Rist, Nina Saunders, Clara Ursitti.

Nathan Coley: Appearances
28 May – 24 July 2011

Jim Lambie: Eight Miles High
2 August – 21 September 2008

the only way out is the only way in: Douglas Gordon
31 May – 3 August 2014