fig-2 was Outset’s most ambitious undertaking to date: 50 exhibitions in 50 weeks at the ICA Studio, London, throughout 2015. Outset Scotland was proud to support this expansive project – funding 4 individual days throughout the year. The programme was a revival of fig-1, an exhibition cycle dating back to the year 2000 and conceived by curator Mark Francis and White Cube’s Jay Jopling, which showcased contemporary artists including Jeremy Deller, Peter Doig and Richard Hamilton.
fig-2 brought together a programme of established and emerging artists, drawn from fields ranging from contemporary art and design to literature and performance. With dedicated funds from the Art Fund, curator Fatos Ustek presented 50 projects at the ICA Studio with one opening every Monday night in 2015, starting on 5th January. Outset Scotland was delighted to direct its funds towards exhibitions by Kathryn Elkin (week 18), Ruth Beale (week 19) and Bruce McLean (week 42).
Kathryn Elkin’s specially commissioned film The Elephants in the Room arose from a collaboration between the artist and the musician Okkyung Lee, where the artists merged modes of musical improvisation with the immediacy of conversation. As a discussion point and a reference for Lee’s improvisation they worked through the adagietto from Mahler’s 5th Symphony which was famously used in Visconti’s masterpiece Death in Venice. Elkin worked with artist Lucy Parker shooting the film with cellist Richard Thomas acting as a sound recordist.
Ruth Beale created a space of encounter by transforming fig-2 into Library of Future Societies – a temporary library composed of books borrowed from various London public libraries. In the week following the UK general election, her makeshift collection concentrated on utopian and distopian novels that attempt to predict the future of societies based on anxieties about the recent past and present. By bringing the books together with her new sculptures and prints, Beale urged us to explore modalities of democracy, education and civil society, as well as positions of knowledge, particularly that of the ‘common’.
Bruce McLean inhabited the fig-2 premises, engaging in a continuous interview with himself throughout the 42nd week. Revisiting his keynote lecture at Frieze Art Fair in 2014, McLean produced a film to document the dialogue, which was perfected and re-shot through several takes and repetitions, assisted by his long-term friend and collaborator Eddie Farrell. Charged with humour and wit, the interview was formed of questions that sought to elaborate his position as an artist, and his approach to modes of production. Employing satirical, yet engaging commentaries on the state of art and its relations, McLean incorporated references to his earlier works. In addition to the staging of ‘McLean interviews McLean’, the exhibition included archival material from his previous exhibitions and artworks.
Kathryn Elkin (b.1983, Belfast) lives and works in Edinburgh. She completed her BA in Environmental Art at Glasgow School of Art. Recent exhibitions and performances include: Speaking Art Writing, Whitechapel Gallery, London (2015), Mutatis Mutandis,Collective Gallery, Edinburgh (2015), and Til The Stars Turn Cold at Glasgow Sculpture Studios (2015). In 2015, Elkin was awarded a six-month residency at BBC Scotland to produce the video work Michael’s Theme and her video Mutatis Mutandis featured as part of the 2014 London Film Festival. Elkin is one of the 2015 Visual Art residents at Cove Park. She will make a duo presentation with Seamus Harahan at CCA Derry in late 2015 and a solo presentation at CCA Glasgow.
Ruth Beale (b. 1981, Cambridge) lives and works in London. She completed her BA in Drawing and Painting at Edinburgh College of Art. Recent solo exhibitions include: Bookbed at Peckham Platform, London, (2014), Bikes, Caves, Raves at Trade, Nottingham (2014), and Lindgren & Langlois: The Archive Paradox at Grand Union, Birmingham (2013). She has performed at Turner Contemporary (2014), Basel Kunsthalle (2012), MoMA PS1 (2014), South London Gallery (2011), ICA (2011), and Modern Art Oxford (2014). She is a co-founder of Performance as Publishing and The Alternative School of Economics, which has recently been awarded a major new commission by Create London.
Bruce McLean (b. 1944, Glasgow Scotland), lives and works in London. McLean has exhibited in groundbreaking international shows since the late Sixties including, When Attitudes become form, Kunsthalle, Bern and ICA, London (1969); Konception, Museum Morsbroish, Leverkusen, Germany, (1969); Art in the Mind, Allen Memorial Museum, Oberlin Ohio (1969); Information, Museum Modern Art, New York, USA,(1970); Road Show Biennale, Biennale de Sao Paolo, Brazil (1970); The British Avant Garde, New York Cultural Centre, New York, USA (1971); Documenta 6 (1977) and Documenta 7 (1982), both in Kassel, Germany; and Process, Progress Project Archive, Chelsea Space, London (1966-2006). He has had over 100 solo exhibitions in America, Canada, Germany Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, France and Japan. McLean lead the experimental architecture project to design Dalry Primary School in North Ayrshire, completed in 2007.