Scotland Foundation Circle

Simon StarlingThe Common Guild, Glasgow, 2016

Outset Scotland supported At Twilight, a major new project by Simon Starling, which was commissioned by The Common Guild, Glasgow, in collaboration with the Japan Society, New York.

At Twilight – developed by Starling in collaboration with theatre director Graham Eatough – consisted of an intertwined exhibition and performance.

The artist collaborated with: Graham Eatough (scriptwriter and director), Javier de Frutos and Scottish Ballet (choreography), Joshua Abrams and Natural Information Society (music), Kumi Sakurai and Atelier Hinode (costumes), Yasuo Miichi (masks).

The project took its principal inspiration from W.B. Yeats’ play, At the Hawk’s Well, which was written and performed in April 1916 in what Starling called “an odd cross-cultural mash-up in an English garden, at a traumatic moment in European history”.  Yeats wrote the play, inspired by traditional Japanese ‘Noh’ theatre and Irish folklore, while working with the younger poet Ezra Pound, in the middle of World War I.

In the centenary year of At the Hawk’s Well, Starling revived this complex discourse between tradition and the avant-garde, weaving together historical, mythological and Modernist references.  The masks and costumes presented in both Starling’s exhibition and the performance denoted nine characters, real and fictional, from Michio Ito – a Japanese dancer who played The Hawk in the first performance of Yeats’ play – to Eeyore from A.A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh books, which are set in Ashdown Forest, where Yeats and Pound spent the winters of 1913–16. The burnt tree trunks, on which the masks were hung, again brought to mind WWI and the ravaged landscapes of its battlefields.

At Twilight ran from 2 July to 4 September at The Common Guild, with performances taking place at Holmwood House, 26–28 August.  An exhibition of At Twilight opened in the Japan Society Gallery, New York, in October 2016.

Works exhibited in exhibition included:

At Twilight / The Hawk’s Dance: Stage Model, 2016 (choreographed by Javier de Frutos in association with Scottish Ballet, HD video)
At Twilight / Hawk Cloth (After Edmund Dulac), 2014
Fencing Foils (for W.B. Yeats and Ezra Pound)
At Twilight (Production Drawing), 2016 (ink and collage on paper)
W.B Yeats, 2016 (charred oak, powder-coated steel, paulownia, gesso, pigment, animal hair)
Ezra Pound (After Gaudier-Brzeska), 2016 (charred rhododendron, powder-coated steel, paulownia, gesso, pigment)
Eeyore, 2016 (various woven and unwoven fabrics, foam, harness, fixings)
At Twilight: Hawk costume, 2014
Michio Ito (After Isamu Noguchi), 2016 (charred rhododendron, powder-coated steel, paulownia, gesso, pigment, animal hair)
Nancy Cunard (after Constantin Brancusi), 2016 (charred oak, powder-coated steel, paulownia, gesso, pigment)
Rock Drill (After Jacob Epstein), 2016 (charred oak and rhododendron, powder-coated steel, paulownia, gesso, pigment)
The Young Man (After Edmund Dulac), 2016 (charred oak, powder-coated steel, paulownia, gesso, pigment, felt, silk, hemp yarn, wire, paper)
The Old Man (After Edmund Dulac), 2016 (charred oak, powder-coated steel, paulownia, gesso, pigment, animal hair)
The Guardian of the Well (After Edmund Dulac), 2016 (charred rhododendron, powder-coated steel, paulownia, gesso, pigment, felt, silk, hemp yarn, wire, paper)

Simon Starling (b. 1967 in Epsom, Surrey) lives and works in Copenhagen.  His work has been shown internationally in significant exhibitions, including the 50th and 53rd editions of the Venice Biennale in 2003 and 2009.  Recent solo exhibitions include: Backlit, Nottingham Contemporary, Nottingham (2016), and Reset Modernity!, ZKM Museum for Contemporary Art, Karlsruhe, Germany (2016), Metamorphology, Musée d’art contemporain, Montréal, Canada (2015), and Simon Starling: Metamorphology, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (2014).  Starling completed an MFA at The Glasgow School of Art in 1992, and from 1993 to 1996 he was a committee member of Transmission Gallery, Glasgow.  He was Professor at the Städelschule, Frankfurt am Main, Germany, from 2003 to 2013, and in 2005 he was awarded the Turner Prize.

Graham Eatough (b. 1971 in Blackburn, Lancashire) lives and work in Glasgow.  He is a theatre maker, who also works in visual arts and film, was co-founder of Suspect Culture.  His most recent projects include directing Lanark: A Life in Three Acts for the Edinburgh International Festival and the Citizens Theatre, Glasgow, which won the Herald Angel Award, HeLa by Adura Onahsile, which won Scottish Arts Club Best Scottish Production at the Edinburgh Fringe, and The Making of Us, an interdisciplinary collaboration with artist Graham Fagen for Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art 2012.  The film of The Making of Us premiered at the Edinburgh International Film Festival 2013.

The Common Guild is a not-for-profit, visual arts organisation based in Glasgow.  It was established in 2006 and presents a dynamic, international programme of contemporary visual art projects, exhibitions, and events.  These include gallery-based exhibitions as well as non-gallery, one-off projects, talks and collaborations, such as ‘Scotland + Venice 2013’, an exhibition of new work by Corin Sworn, Duncan Campbell and Hayley Tompkins, and a major project with artist Phil Collins in Queen’s Park for Festival 2014, as part of the cultural programme for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.  The Common Guild is committed to presenting artists’ work in interesting and engaging ways and aims to offer access to world-class contemporary art experiences and discussions.