Timeline: the key moments in Scottish visual art over the last 25 years

In honour of the Generation project, we look at the key moments in Scotland's contemporary scene

Timeline: the key moments in Scottish visual art over the last 25 years

Nathan Coley’s There Will Be No Miracles Here

GENERATION revisits key Scottish artists and artworks from the last 25 years. Gail Tolley looks back at some of the most memorable moments

Throughout the late 80s and 90s, Glasgow School of Art produces an incredible number of acclaimed young artists. In particular, the Environmental Art course, established in 1985 by David Harding, includes Douglas Gordon, Christine Borland, Jim Lambie and Ross Sinclair among its alumni.

In 1990 Glasgow becomes European City of Culture.

Three years later, 24 Hour Psycho is first shown at Tramway. Douglas Gordon goes on to win the Turner Prize in 1996, the first of several Glasgow-based artists to nab the award.

Richard Wright’s first solo show takes place in 1994 at Transmission, the first artist-led gallery space in Glasgow set up by graduates from the Glasgow School of Art in 1983. Wright wins the Turner Prize in 2009.

Glasgow’s Gallery of Modern Art opens in 1996. Initially criticised for its curatorial direction and for ignoring the city’s emerging artists, in recent years GoMA has housed critically acclaimed shows from the likes of Karla Black and Jim Lambie.

In 1998 The Modern Institute is founded by Toby Webster. The gallery today represents many of Scotland’s top artists on the international stage, including Simon Starling, Toby Paterson and Cathy Wilkes. Over in Edinburgh, Ingleby Gallery first opens its doors.

One year later, in 1999, another important art venue is founded: Dundee Contemporary Arts.

Martin Creed takes the Turner Prize in 2001 for his controversial exhibition at the Tate, Work No. 227: The lights going on and off. The award is presented by Madonna.

Doggerfisher opens in Edinburgh in the same year. Headed by Susanna Beaumont, it helps build the careers of new emerging artists including Charles Avery.

Abstract painter Callum Innes wins the Jerwood Painting Prize in 2002. A major exhibition of his work is shown at the Fruitmarket Gallery in 2006.

The first Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art takes place in 2004. The biennial event returns this year for its sixth incarnation. That same year, the Edinburgh Art Festival is launched.

Douglas Gordon’s film Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait premieres at the Cannes Film Festival in 2006 with a soundtrack by Glasgow post-rockers Mogwai.

In the same year Mount Stuart, the neo-gothic mansion on the Isle of Bute, with a history of supporting contemporary Scottish artists, commissions Nathan Coley’s evocative illuminated sign, There Will Be No Miracles Here (now permanently on display outside the Dean Gallery in Edinburgh).

Luke Fowler wins the inaugural Derek Jarman Award in 2008, for experimentation in artist film. It’s followed up with solo shows at the Serpentine in London and Edinburgh’s Inverleith House.

In 2009 Martin Boyce represents Scotland at the Venice Biennale. His show No Reflections later comes to the DCA. In 2011 he joins the ranks of Scottish artists to win the Turner Prize.

Also in 2009, the public is invited for the first time to Jupiter Artland, a sculpture park just outside Edinburgh. It hosts work by Andy Goldsworthy, Anish Kapoor, Antony Gormley and Ian Hamilton Finlay among others.

In 2010, Susan Philipsz is announced as the first sound artist to win the Turner Prize. It was awarded for her work Lowlands which was commissioned as part of Glasgow International and installed beneath a bridge over the River Clyde.  

In 2011, Martin Creed’s Scotsman Steps are opened. Commissioned by the Fruitmarket Gallery, each step is made from a different marble.

David Shrigley’s 2012 solo show, Brain Activity, opens at the Hayward Gallery in London.

Tramway will host the 2015 Turner Prize, the first time it has come to Scotland.


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