Grace Ndiritu: A Return To Normalcy: Birth of a New Museum (3 stars)

A fresh and energetic show which is hard to be seduced by

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Grace Ndiritu: A Return To Normalcy: Birth of a New Museum

There’s a lot going on in Glasgow School of Art’s latest exhibition featuring British/Kenyan artist Grace Ndiritu. With A Return to Normalcy, not only has Ndiritu burdened herself with reinvigorating the iconic Mack building currently lying dormant opposite the Reid Gallery, she is also debuting her wider practice incorporating painting and photography in the UK.

The major talking point, of course, is the performance An Afro-Futuristic Performance: Holotropic Breathing for the Masses that took place in the Mack’s lower levels. Thirty lucky participants were authorised access in order to join Ndiritu in ‘reactivating’ the building from the distressed post-fire lecture theatre. The ritualistic performance is relayed on screen complete with props from the original performance. It isn’t clear how serious the artist’s intentions were for inducing a transcendental state among her audience, but from the immaculate surroundings of the Reid gallery it is hard to be seduced by the spectacle.

The rest of the exhibition is a busy arrangement of objects and images that is both slick and intentionally scruffy in execution. A cut-and-paste aesthetic gives the impression of viewing disparate visual content on a social media feed. The show is undoubtedly fresh and energetic, but like the competing narratives experienced online, it is hard to invest your attention anywhere.

Glasgow School of Art until Sat 12 Dec.

Grace Ndiritu: A Return to Normalcy – Birth of a New Museum

The first major UK solo show since 2007 for this British/Kenyan artist, with film, photography, paintings, video work and a performance work, Holotropic Breathing for the Masses: An Afro-futuristic Performance, intended to breath new life back into the Mackintosh building after the fire.

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