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What We Have Done, What We Are About To Do

CCA: Centre for Contemporary Art Glasgow
Saturday 18 August - Saturday 15 September 2012
Preview Friday 17th August 7-9pm

This exhibition reveals over 140 films documenting the activity of the Third Eye Centre in the 1970s. The footage covers the early existence of the organisation in Blythswood Square, the construction of a gallery space and café in 350 Sauchiehall St and the appearance of many famous artists, bands and performers. In the spirit of the age, the films also chart Glasgow itself, audiences and activities in the art centre, and key figures such as Jimmy Boyle, Allen Ginsberg, Morton Feldman, John Byrne, Michael Craig-Martin, Madelaine Taylor, Keith Tippett and Tom McGrath.

Another gallery will be devoted to contemporary Glasgow-based artists creating new work in response to the idea of archives and the process of archiving. Invited by artists Rebecca Wilcox and Oliver Pitt, various writers, artists and curators have been delving into the past histories of both the Third Eye Centre and CCA to query the relevance of these traces and to create something new from the fragments that remain. Mother Tongue are one of the projects selected to participate.

Mother Tongue’s response to the Third Eye Centre/CCA-Glasgow archive takes the form of a re-presentation of exhibition material and artworks from Maud Sulter and Oladélé Ajiboyé Bamgboyé, existing in the archive via the exhibitions Alba [1995] and Through Photography [1989], respectively. While both were active artists in Glasgow in the late1980’s - early1990’s, they are notably absent from the grand ‘Glasgow Miracle’ narrative, detached from their contemporaries, an issue about which both Sulter and Bamgboyé were very vocal.

Our re-presentation here of their work from the archive is intended to highlight not only their omission from the Glasgow Miracle, but to suggest why this was necessitated by its’ whiteness and the specific conditions under which the miracle was constructed. Our investigation of these issues will culminate in a critical essay, to be released mid-show and made freely available in the gallery space.

Maud Sulter [1960-2008]

Born in Glasgow of Scots and Ghanaian descent, Maud Sulter was a writer, playwright, cultural historian and artist, working with installation, photography and video. She attained a Masters degree in Photographic Theory, and came to prominence through her programming of Check It at the Drill Hall, London and inclusion in the exhibition The Thin Black Line, curated by Lubaina Himid at the ICA, 1986. Her work was subsequently included in exhibitions including: Victoria and Albert Museum in 1987; the Johannesburg Biennial (1996); and the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in 2003. Between 1992 and 1994, she was the Principal Lecturer in Fine Art at the Manchester Metropolitan University, and later directed and founded the gallery Rich Women of Zurich, London, which promoted cultural diversity and mid-career artists.

Sulter was awarded the British Telecom New Contemporaries Award 1990 and the Momart Fellowship at the Tate Gallery Liverpool in 1990, alongside acknowledgements of her writing including the Vera Bell Prize for Poetry (awarded for As A Blackwoman). Sulter’s work is held in the collections of the V&A London, Arts Council Collection, the British Council, the Scottish Arts Council and the Scottish Parliament Collection, amongst others.

Oladélé Ajiboyé Bamgboyé [b. 1963]

Born in Odo-Eku, Nigeria, Oladélé Bamgboyé’s family emigrated to Glasgow in 1975, where he completed a degree in Chemical Engineering in 1985. In the late 1980’s, Bamgboyé began to produce photographs, establishing his practice through documentation photography for a number of galleries and institutions in Glasgow, including Transmission Gallery and Variant Magazine. A founding member of Street Level Gallery, early exhibitions of his work at the Third Eye Centre and Transmission led to Bamgboyé being awarded a summer studio residency at the Banff Centre Canada and the Richard Hough Prize for Photography in 1992. Bamgboyé re-located to Berlin, then London, undertaking an M.A in Media Fine Art Theory and Practice at Slade College of Fine Art.

International exhibitions of Bamgboyé’s work include the Johannesburg Biennial, "Cross/ing: Time-Space-Movement” [1996]; Documenta X [1997]; The Short Century: Independence and Liberation Movements in Africa, 1945 – 1994, P.S. 1, New York and Museum Villa Stuck, Munich [2002]; Animations, PS1 New York and Kunst Werke, Berlin [2001]. At the time of writing, the curators have been notified that Oladélé Bamgboyé has ceased to remain working as an artist.

Both Mother Tongue and the CCA Glasgow have been proactively attempting to communicate with Oladélé Ajiboyé Bamgboyé and the estate of Maud Sulter in connection with this project. We would very much welcome their contact at the following address: info@mothertongue.se

In the week following the exhibition there will be a series of workshop days in the galleries. Curators of other specialist archives will present talks on their collections and lead discussions on various aspects of the archive as it relates to contemporary art.

A number of screening and panel events will then roll out across 2012/13 which will focus in on some of the edited subject matter. This will initially take place between Street Level Photoworks and CCA.