Glasgow’s The Common Guild has announced that it is ceasing the exhibition programme at its gallery of ten years in the city’s west end.
Its current exhibition, Janice Kerbel’s ‘Notes from Sink’, closes on Sunday (2 December 2018) and will be the final show in the building, which is owned by the artist Douglas Gordon.
For the time being The Common Guild, a Creative Scotland regularly funded organisation, will continue to base its office at the Woodlands Terrace address, part of a row of grand Victorian terraces built in the 1850s.
Katrina Brown, founding director of The Common Guild, told a-n News that the Woodlands Terrace space had always been conceived as temporary, so the decision to move “has always been on the horizon”.
She added: “We have in recent years been committed to addressing the access issues, and – with 10 years and 30 exhibitions behind us – now is the time to make a decisive move.”
“The Common Guild started life as a desk in an office in Robertson Street [in Glasgow city centre] with the principle of ‘programme before premises’: rather than having a building and filling it, the idea was to work with artists and find space for the work as appropriate.
“21 Woodlands Terrace became a possibility as an exhibition space in 2008 and it has proved to be a very accommodating home for so many shows, but it’s time to try a different version of what our exhibitions’ programme can be – with less steps.”
The gallery, which is accessed from the street via a series of steps, is spread over two floors with a large, sweeping staircase. Due to the domestic nature of the space there is no lift.
In the short-term, Common Guild’s programme will be focused on projects and events, while the organisation works on a longer-term plan to relocate to more accessible premises which will include exhibition space.
Brown said she was “so grateful to Douglas Gordon for helping make our programme of exhibitions possible. It has been an incredible gift – to us, to the artists, and to the public, thousands of whom have visited over the past 10 years”.
During its time at Woodlands Terrace the gallery has staged shows by a range of international artists, often showing in Scotland for the first time.
Other artists who have had solo exhibitions at the space over the last 10 years include Spencer Finch, Roni Horn, Martin Creed, Tacita Dean, Ulla von Brandenburg, Wolfgang Tillmans, Roman Ondák, Anne Hardy and Sharon Hayes.
In 2014 the gallery hosted solo exhibitions by the Glasgow-based artists Hayley Tompkins, Corin Sworn, and Duncan Campbell. These followed The Common Guild-curated presentation of their work for the Scottish pavilion at the 2013 Venice Biennale. Campbell went on to win the 2014 Turner Prize having been nominated for his 54-minute Venice film, It For Others.
Offsite projects and events have helped define The Common Guild as an art producer as much as a gallery and most recently it presented Janice Kerbel’s ‘Sink’, a performance by 24 female synchronised swimmers which took place at a Victorian swimming baths in Glasgow’s west end.
Other projects have seen it working with artists including Rodney Graham, Phil Collins and Simon Starling. Its 2014 production of Kerbel’s DOUG was nominated for the 2015 Turner Prize.
1. Roni Horn, ‘the tiniest piece of mirror is always the whole mirror’, 2009, The Common Guild, Glasgo. Photo: Alan Dimmick
2. Janice Kerbel ‘Notes from Sink’, 2018. Photo: Ruth Clark
3. Ulla von Brandenburg, ’Neue Alte Welt’, 2011, The Common Guild, Glasgow. Photo: Alan Dimmick
4. Anne Hardy, ‘Twin Fields’, 2015, The Common Guild, Glasgow. Photo: Ruth Clark
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