The 20th in our year-long series of exhibition pairings was perhaps the most clear distillation yet of the premise behind the programme - Andrew Grassie and Daniel Buren presented a complete engagement with the space, and with each other.
Following our invitation to contribute to the series, Andrew Grassie asked to show alongside celebrated artist Daniel Buren. The work of both directly addresses the places in which they are made, and the ways in which we look at and perceive things. Buren's lifelong concern has been not just the artwork itself, but its context, the space that supports and frames it and which is in turn coloured and changed by his interventions. With Grassie's paintings, we are confronted with a near photographic representation of the space in which we find ourselves.
Grassie's brilliant but not uncomplicated suggestion was in several parts: that Buren be invited to create a wall drawing in the gallery which would then be photographed by Grassie who would in turn use the resulting photograph in his London studio to produce a painting perfectly replicating it. This painting would ultimately be hung during the exhibition in exactly the same point from which the photograph was taken. Buren's wall drawing was painstakingly re-made a second time for the week-long exhibition itself.
When shown together in the gallery the two works set up a very confusing riddle of how they came to be, particularly for any viewer who is aware that any one of Grassie's paintings takes many months to complete. Though the painting seems to present us with a mirror-image of our surroundings, a prolonged and curious gaze might discern a clash between the painting's cold, wintry light and the warm spring sunshine now filling the gallery, so revealing a temporal in-between - of our being in the space, and his.
Andrew Grassie was born in Edinburgh in 1966 and studied at Central St. Martin's College of Art & Design and the Royal College of Art, London. Completed after many months of work, each extraordinary painting is made on the same small scale - 15 x 20 cm - and using tempera on paper.
Daniel Buren was born in France in 1938. His distinguished and important achievements over a career spanning more than four decades are too numerous to mention here, but this was the first time in over twenty years that his work had been shown in Scotland.