Finite Project Altered When Open
David Dale Gallery confirms its key place as part of Glasgow's grassroots art scene
David Dale Gallery’s milestone exhibition celebrating its fifth anniversary is a suitably reflective and experimental affair that draws attention to its own function and place in Glasgow’s prolific grassroots contemporary art scene. As a non-profit organisation run by a dedicated team of volunteers, there is much to celebrate in the gallery remaining open: an abundance of similarly energetic initiatives take root in the city on a regular basis, but against a backdrop of uncertainty and poor funding, rarely is there much staying power.
Finite Project Altered When Open, which takes its cue from conceptual artist Robert Morris’ 1969 exhibition, Continuous Project Altered Daily, is exhibition as performance. The show opened as a blank canvas on Sat 6 Jun, and has since been accumulating marks in the form of artworks sent in by David Dale’s impressive list of associates. Over 80 artists, writers and curators who have worked with the gallery previously have contributed with morsels from their practices that amount to a delightful and light-hearted overview of the gallery’s activities over the last five years.
Like a members' show, there is no curatorial theme to unite the mostly small-scale two-dimensional works, but their proximity draws attention to interesting stylistic parallels. There are video works and sculpture too – the exhibition is accompanied by the tinny sound of television audio, which accentuates the slightly chaotic atmosphere of an exhibition permanently in the process of being installed.
Because of the intentionally unplanned layout of the show, it is difficult to fathom which artwork belongs to whom, with the effect that each work is afforded level standing with the next. A piece by a recent Turner Prize nominee sits alongside a recent GSA graduate’s – an indicator of David Dale’s success as an organisation at the heart of Glasgow’s contemporary art scene.