Stephen Sutcliffe: Work from the Collection
- David Pollock
- 21 November 2017
Photographs and installations from the Glasgow-based Yorkshire artist
A detuned radio transmission of pop culture ephemera and individual visual snippets with their own discrete purpose are transposed and moulded together in this exhibition by Glasgow-based Yorkshireman Stephen Sutcliffe, which brings together five pieces purchased by Glasgow Museums in 2013 with two works loaned by Sutcliffe. His collage film works cut together sound and vision from separate sources, while his posed photographs and wall drawing installations adapt the iconic New Yorker cartoons of the late Saul Steinberg. This latter group is the most accessible of the work shown here, big, bold images whose painstaking method of construction transforms (but doesn't transcend) the original work.
There are photographs of a man in the power position telling another man (the artist) 'NO!' in a large chalkboard speech bubble; the artist painting sad faces on boxes covering childrens' heads; a wall-and-floor painting of viciously crossed out speech bubbles. Alongside two longer films, 'Come to the Edge' incongruously pairs an uplifting mantra by the poet Christopher Logue ('you think human beings are not at all what their theoreticians and politicians and institutions say they are … happiness keeps on breaking through') with a 100-second film of a teenager apparently being bullied in a school common room. These are works which assert their own meaning over the source material, walking a fine line between the transcendence and crushing failure of making art.
Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow, until Sun 21 Jan.