What You See is Where You’re At
‘Everything is going to be alright,’ announces the neon installation by former Turner Prize winner Martin Creed as you approach the grand entrance to the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. It’s a fitting curtain raiser to the re-hang of the venerable institution, which now more than ever is a place to wander and get lost in while enjoying the riches of the collection.
The gallery is now divided into portions, each with their own distinct identity. ‘Drawing the Human Form’ features illustrative work from artists both well known and fresh from college, which invites the viewer to take a closer look, none more so than ECA graduate Paul Chiappe, whose miniature scene in pencil is so delicate it almost requires a magnifying glass.
‘The Artist as Subject’ offers a look at the self-portrait and features crowd pleasers such as Andy Warhol and Douglas Gordon on the ground floor, while the gallery space opposite has a magnificent collection of work by Max Beckmann, which could be a reason to visit the gallery in itself.
The beauty of a re-hang is that a familiar space becomes transformed, and this forms a large part of the pleasures of this exhibition: there is now no area of the gallery that does not warrant thorough investigation. But What You See is Where You’re At also highlights the richness and scope of the Gallery of Modern Art’s collection. Whether it is ‘Things’ you seek (sculptural work) or installation work (such as Kitty Kraus’ powerful, disconcerting ‘Ice’) or you just want to see a fantastically rendered still life, the exhibition really does merit repeat viewing. With the promise of further rotation of the more than 5000 works in the collection, it is going to be a good year for modern art in Scotland.
Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, until Sun 28 Feb