Glasgow International announces 2018 programme

Published: 16 Oct 2017

Glasgow International

Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art is pleased to announce details of the programme for its eighth edition, opening on 20 April 2018. Under the new direction of Richard Parry, who joins the festival after serving as Curator-Director of the Grundy Art Gallery in Blackpool, the 2018 programme comprises new works, site-specific commissions, exhibitions and events across over 70 venues and spaces in the north, south, east and west of the city.

As one of the UK’s largest and most influential art festivals, it showcases Glasgow as an important location for the production and display of contemporary visual art. After seven successful editions, it is a festival that has quickly established itself as an essential juncture in the international art calendar. The aim is to showcase some of the best and most exciting work being made in Scotland and across the UK, but also to introduce powerful international work to audiences in Glasgow.

Glasgow International 2018 will include a Director’s Programme, curated by Parry, as well as a wider programme of exhibitions and projects led by artists, curators and producers who live and work in the city.

This year’s Director’s Programme begins with the large group exhibition Cellular World at GoMA, which will introduce audiences to key themes that will resurface in other commissions. Prominent concepts will include ideas of the ‘cyborg’, of artificial intelligence (AI) and of avatars, at a time when most of us rely on smartphones and have an online persona through social media.

In light of era-defining changes such as the Brexit referendum result and the election of Donald Trump that have occurred since the last edition in April 2016, many of the artworks and exhibitions across the entire programme will communicate a sense of how artists are responding to the new context in which we now find ourselves. Visitors will encounter artwork carrying a renewed sense of urgency, in particular around certain issues such as personal identity and social change, as well as work that jolts us to imagine new fictional futures.

Alongside the Cellular World exhibition, the Director’s Programme will include substantial new commissions in established favourite venues such as Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum and Tramway, as well as more unconventional sites across the city, such as Film City in Govan. This, together with the wider festival programme taking place throughout Glasgow, will encourage audiences to discover and re-discover parts of the city which might less frequently receive the spotlight.

Highlights for the 2018 Festival

  • Over 130 Glasgow-based artists and with representation from at least 30 other countries with artists participating from Africa, Asia, Europe, South Pacific, South and North America
  • Solo exhibitions by international artists including Mark Leckey, Lubaina Himid, Urs Fischer, and Duggie Fields and Glasgow-based artists including Stephen Sutcliffe, Graham Eatough, and Michelle Hannah
  • Major new commissions and projects by Canadian artist Kapwani Kiwanga, British artists Linder and Tai Shani, Montreal-based artist Nadia Myre, and Glasgow-based artists Torsten Lauschmann and Aniara Omann
  • A major group exhibition at the Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA), entitled Cellular World, which will bring together new commissions and existing work by artists including Joseph Buckley, Jamie Crewe, Jesse Darling, Cécile B. Evans, Lynn Hershman-Leeson, E. Jane, Sam Keogh, Mai-Thu Perret and John Russell
  • Over 45 group shows and 35 solo exhibitions by Glasgow-based, UK, and international artists
  • Over 190 artists to be featured across a number of ambitious projects
    Glasgow is one of the most interesting and dynamic centres for contemporary art in the UK.  The strength and diversity of the work being produced year-round, by artists and arts organisations across the city, has gained national and international recognition- Amanda Catto, Creative Scotland

Group Exhibitions

The Director’s Programme will be the heart and cornerstone of the forthcoming Glasgow International and curated by new Director Richard Parry.

At the core of the 2018 Director’s Programme of Glasgow International will be a group exhibition in Glasgow’s Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA) including work by Joseph Buckley, Jesse Darling, Cécile B. Evans, Lynn Hershman-Leeson, E. Jane, Sam Keogh, Mai-Thu Perret and John Russell, as well as emerging Glasgow-based artist Jamie Crewe. Further artists will be announced in due course.

Entitled Cellular World, the exhibition will bring together new commissions and existing work by artists examining the interface between humans and technology, reflecting on how our current situation sits on a precipice between utopia and dystopia. The works on show will explore ideas of the cyborg and the avatar raising questions of identity and individual and collective consciousness at a time of prolific social change and uncertainty, when reality can often seem more like science fiction.

John Russell, a member of the highly influential ‘BANK’ collective that was active in the 1990s, will create a large-scale new canvas commission. New-York-based artist E Jane will undertake a residency at Cove Park prior to the festival, developing a new iteration of her installation Lavendra which evokes a powerful subjectivity, involving the voices of black female pop divas.

Solo exhibitions

Three ambitious solo exhibitions will be presented at Tramway as part of the Director’s Programme. The largest solo commission will be Mark Leckey (Tramway T2), often regarded as one of the most important artists dealing with ‘post-internet’ culture. Leckey will undertake a new and ambitious installation of scale in the main exhibition space at Tramway. The exhibition, co-commissioned with Tramway, one of the largest gallery spaces in Europe, and will come ten years after Leckey won the Turner Prize. 

Also at Tramway, there will be major new commissions by artists Kapwani Kiwanga, (Tramway T5), and Tai Shani (Tramway T1). Paris-based Canadian artist Kiwanga will create a new installation of sculptural works exploring afro-futurism through a perspective of geological time. The exhibition will draw on the notion that the continent of Africa is heading towards Europe at the rate of 1cm per year, eventually to ‘swallow’ it.

London-based artist Tai Shani will create a large-scale immersive installation entitled Dark Continent: City on the Edge of Time. The installation will function as a site for performance, which will be filmed and the sequences returned to the installation. The work is an experimental adaptation of Christine de Pizan's 1405 protofeminist book, The Book of the City of Ladies and will incorporate 12 characters drawn from feminist histories and science fiction, performed by actors delivering monologues that explore female subjectivity. This spectacular project will premiere at Glasgow International and travel to The Tetley in Leeds as a solo show, with further partial presentations at Nottingham Contemporary and the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, with additional screenings at Wysing Arts Centre and the Whitechapel Gallery, London. 

The festival will present an essential body of new work by UK artist Lubaina Himid, commissioned for the main hall of the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. Himid will create new suspended sculptures based on a Japanese kite within the main hall of one of the best loved galleries in the city.

Himid, who has an MBE for services to Black Woman’s Art, is particularly celebrated for giving voice to communities who are underrepresented and challenging institutional invisibility. Her work reflects themes of belonging, showing the contribution of black people to the cultural landscape of Britain.  

Centre for Contemporary Arts (CCA) will present a solo exhibition of Ross Birrell that will bring together major projects originally commissioned for documenta 14.

The Modern Institute will present two major solo exhibitions across their Osborne Street Gallery and Aird’s Lane space. In Aird’s Lane, a solo exhibition of new works by Urs Fischer will be presented. A historical solo show of the work of Duggie Fields will be presented in Osborne Street. This exhibition will combine seminal works by the artist including video and sound pieces - a context which explores Fields’ position as an artist and cultural phenomenon.

Michelle Hannah will present KEENER, a new durational performance and exhibition taking place at The Savings Bank, exploring diverse thematic tropes including those found in Italian poet Giacomo Leopardi, Cosmic Pessimism, the materiality of Fashion/Corporate events, Post-Digital identity and the Irish tradition of 'Keeners'.

An intimate examination of Ulrike Ottinger’s photographic and moving image practice will be presented at the Hunterian Art Gallery, curated by Dominic Paterson.

Glasgow International

New Commissions

The wider programme will include a commission by Glasgow Women’s Library of new work by Linder which will feature the launch of Glasgow Women’s Library’s new Flag series.

The Glasgow School of Art will commission an ambitious new body of research and work by Glasgow-based artist Torsten Lauschmann combining abstraction, humour, politics and art. Glasgow Print Studio will celebrate the work of Ciara Phillips with a site-specific installation of her work made in collaboration with the Glasgow Print Studio Master Printers. 

The artist-led sector will be represented by bold, political and challenging projects examining identity, race, politics, fatherhood, queer feminist photography and our current ‘international’ position. These projects include Transmission Gallery’s project with iQhiya, a collective of South African ‘womxn’ artists, who will respond to the gendered and racialised expectations - and erasure - of ‘womxn’ artists of colour in Scotland.

Market Gallery will work with artists Aniara Omann and Gary Zhexi Zhang utilising concepts derived from consciousness-based reality, quantum physics and microbiology, to explore the fluidity and contradictions between disparate systems.

Code-Switching is a solo presentation of new work from Montreal-based artist Nadia Myre, responding to the history of clay tobacco pipe production in Glasgow. A by-product of the tobacco trade with the New World, the pipes were one of the first ‘disposable’ items to enter the market, purchased pre-stuffed with tobacco, with the clay pipe incrementally broken off in segments as they were smoked. Curated by Mother Tongue, Myre’s new work in response to this aspect of Glasgow’s colonial past will be explored in archaeological and participatory form.

Rosie O’Grady has been awarded the Glasgow International Open Glasgow Bursary for her new project that will agitate representations of Margaret Macdonald, through re-imagining and realising her famous May Queen gesso panel design as a crop circle. Margaret was Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s wife and this project intends to represent her own artistic contribution in the 150th year of his birth from a feminist perspective. Through this work, O’Grady will also refer to nuclear semiotics, sexuality, risk-assessment, distress signals and fertility.

Augustas Serapinas’ exhibition at David Dale Gallery will be the artist’s first UK institutional solo exhibition, and one of his most ambitious to date. The exhibition will be a major commission of new installation work by Serapinas spanning multiple spaces within the organisation's building, involving individuals from neighbouring businesses.

The Glasgow International 2018 programme will also include a partnership project celebrating Scotland’s forthcoming Year of Young People with exciting details due to be announced shortly.

New venues

After a three phase, £3.5 million redevelopment and occupation of the beautiful, beaux arts Govan Town Hall, Film City Glasgow has firmly established itself as the heart and soul of Scotland’s film and television industry.

As part of the Director’s Programme, the festival will present a film and off-site installation, entitled No End to Enderby, by Glasgow-based theatre-maker Graham Eatough and artist Steve Sutcliffe. This major new commission is developed in partnership with LUX Artists’ Moving Image and co-commissioned by Manchester International Festival, The Whitworth Gallery, University of Manchester, Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art and Kunstlerhaus Stuttgart. The commission will supported by the Contemporary Art Society Annual Award 2015.

No End to Enderby will be based on Anthony Burgess’s series of Enderby novels and will take the form of two short films to be shown as part of an installation exploring the cultural figure of the artist and ideas of authenticity and posterity through theatrical performances and irreverent humour. The two films will adapt the very first and last chapters of the four novel series.

Glasgow International will also undertake a project with Festival 2018 – a dynamic cultural festival which will run alongside the inaugural European Championships. The commission will celebrate synergies between the two leading creative European host cities, Glasgow and Berlin. It will aim to bring international profile and attention to the city and capitalise on Glasgow and Scotland’s international reputation for creative excellence. Further details will be announced in early 2018.


A film screening by Henry Coombes and an event series curated by Love Unlimited will be held at Easterhouse Swimming Pool at The Bridge in association with Platform.

Project Ability will present I’m Going To Tell You About My Life, a performative action conceived by Spanish artist Esther Ferrer. The piece advocates for a pluralist society by presenting language as a palpable manifestation of diversity. In partnership with this event, Mónica Laiseca has curated an event, entitled MINIMAL/POOR/PRESENT. Jointly, the two projects claim a continuity and intensified relevance for Ferrer’s work in the context of Brexit, amidst global instability and deepening social tensions.

Festival Re-Brand

2018 marks a brand re-fresh for Glasgow International, working with Glasgow-based designers Cause and Effect to bring a new brand identity to this edition. The font has been designed by Glasgow School of Art graduate Imogen Ayres, of Möbel Type an independent foundry for typefaces. Further artists and details of the Glasgow International 2018 programme will be announced in early 2018.

Richard Parry, Director of Glasgow International, said: “It is a huge honour and privilege to be taking on the role of Director of Glasgow International. I can’t think of a time when it’s been more urgent to listen to the voices of artists, who amidst all the tectonic changes occurring in society and politics, remind us of what it means to be human. This edition of Glasgow International will give audiences an unparalleled opportunity to see how artists in Scotland and further afield are encouraging us to unearth deeper truths and see behind the mask of everyday life as it is often presented to us. Through the exhibitions and events in both new buildings and established favourites, we aim to open up the festival to people from all walks of life, lifting the lid on the unique and pre-eminent centre of artistic production that is Glasgow.”

Councillor David McDonald, Depute Leader of Glasgow City Council and Chair of Glasgow Life, said: “Glasgow is a city which embraces and celebrates contemporary art and our position as a leading centre for producing and showing exciting new work grows year on year. Glasgow International is central to this success. With each edition it excites, it challenges, and new ideas are explored as a festival with a worldwide reach and reputation remains rooted in the city which inspires and stages it. From our more established cultural venues such as Kelvingrove and GoMA, there will be productions in Govan and Easterhouse, increasing access to contemporary art across our communities.”

Amanda Catto, Head of Visual Arts at Creative Scotland, said: “The depth and range of the 2018 GI Festival is remarkable and we congratulate all those involved for bringing such a rich programme to life.   Glasgow is one of the most interesting and dynamic centres for contemporary art in the UK.  The strength and diversity of the work being produced year-round, by artists and arts organisations across the city, has gained national and international recognition. GI amplifies this, providing visitors from Scotland and further afield with opportunities to engage with some of the very best art being made today. There is much to look forward to and we urge people to get the dates in their diaries now.”

Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland Director of Events, said: “Since its inception in 2005, the Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art has gone from strength to strength and has firmly establish itself as one of the UK’s most influential art festivals, helping shine a spotlight on Scotland’s reputation as the perfect stage for events. This year’s programme brilliantly reflects the technological and social impacts on our lives as well as celebrating the events going on around us, including Scotland’s Year of Young People and the inaugural European Champions in Glasgow and Berlin. EventScotland is delighted to supporter of Glasgow International as it continues to champion visual art.”

Glasgow International, 20 April – 7 May 2018; Press Preview: 18 April 2018; Professional Preview: 19 April 2018