Sue Tompkins' first major solo exhibition in Scotland

  • The List
  • 24 February 2011
Sue Tomkins' first major solo exhibition in Scotland

Artist and former member of Life Without Buildings

You’re well known as a musician and visual artist. How do the two things inform and complement each other in your work?

I’ve never really separated the two. I often used to worry much more, asking myself where do I belong or fit in work-wise, but then over a long time of just trying to continue making work, I worried less about it!

You’re about to unveil your first major solo exhibition in Scotland. What are the pleasures of putting together a solo exhibition as opposed to working collaboratively or participating in group shows?

I love the freedom of a solo show, but when you’re working with other people it’s such an exciting feeling that you are part of something and excited by other people’s contributions. When I worked with Life Without Buildings it felt great to be swept up in something that you could feel yourself in and express yourself and feel energised and surprised too all the time, by everybody, and what you can make together.

What do you think of Inverleith House as a space?

I’ve always loved how their programme mixes up older and younger artists with such care. The light is amazing within the gallery and just the beauty and sense of the botanical gardens being just there, outside the window. I’ve never been to Orkney but I wonder if the Piers Arts Centre has a similar thing going on … just art facing nature and vice versa, so great!

Susan Philipsz won the Turner Prize last year for a sound installation. Do you feel that this will increase interest in sound-based artworks, including your own work?

I think the Turner Prize is such a world unto itself, I’m not sure it actually increases an awareness of/love of/interest in any particular genre. It heightens the public’s awareness of a particular artist at an exciting part of their career but that’s it. It would be great for a performance artist to be on the list at some point.

Sue Tompkins, Inverleith House, Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh, until Sun 17 Apr.

Claude Cahun and Sue Tompkins

  • 4 stars

The first solo UK exhibition of photographs by French philosopher/snapper Claude Cahun (1894–1954) alongside works from Glaswegian visual and sound artist Tompkins.


1. Vashtimay24 Mar 2011, 6:06pm Report

Hi there, I grew up on Orkney and was involved with the market research and design of the Piers Arts Centre in Stromness as a school student at the local high school. I now go to university in Edinburgh studying History of Art and I volunteer at Inverleith House so have spent a whole day ever week for the last few weeks sitting in a room admiring Sue's work. I really appreciate her style, especially since doing more research into her live performances. I can also confirm that the Piers Arts Centre has exactly the same kind of atmosphere, though rather a different energy due to the many views of the harbour. It would be perfect for her work if ever she got in contact with them!

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