Monday, November 08, 2010

Christine Borland breathes new life into dead bodies

A residency at Glasgow Sculpture Studios has its roots in medicine.

Sitting in a white-walled cube at Glasgow Sculpture Studios, Christine Borland is in the final stretch of her production residency, and only a few weeks away from her first Glasgow solo show in 16 years. The unit is one of over 40 artists’ studios, tantalisingly generic on the outside, but each one home to a multitude of creative secrets.

The contents of Borland’s unit are a little creepy. A life-sized medical mannequin lies naked, face down on the floor, left where he fell shortly before my arrival. A number of heads occupy a table, one with plastic arteries hanging loose from the neck. The wall is adorned with images including an uncomfortably convincing replica crash victim, and a flamboyant 19th century sculpture of a flayed man.

Borland, by contrast, is welcoming and calm. She sits at a desk complete with laptop, printer and phone, in a way which suggests that this is the real focus of the studio, and not the Frankensteinian bodies lying around it.

A one-time Turner Prize nominee, Borland is a product of Glasgow School of Art’s celebrated Environmental Art Department. For 20 years she has steered a steady course through the medical establishment, homing in on unnoticed details and tracking down long-lost information with a detective’s eye. Catriona Black, The Herald Scotland

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