New Portrait of Hugh MacDiarmid at Royal Scottish Academy

Press/Media: Research

Description

HUGH McDiarmid once famously wrote that he wished he 'kent the physical basis/O' a lifes seemin airs and graces'.

Now the seminal Scottish poet's famous ruminations on life, the universe and Scotland in his landmark poem, A Drunk Man Looks at The Thistle, seem to have come to life, in an ongoing work of art at the Royal Scottish Academy (RSA) in Edinburgh

The work of art by the Scottish artist Calum Colvin is taking shape in the building, which takes a appropriately three-dimensional look at the poet, whose real name was Christopher Murray Grieve.

The artwork, a trompe-l'oeil – an installation which tricks the eye – is part of the Ages of Wonder exhibition at the RSA, which celebrates the history of Scottish art at the RSA as well as its contemporary work.

Mr Colvin is working on the art work in public, and holding conversations with visitors to the exhibition as he works and they pass.

He said: "I normally work alone in a dark studio but it's been great meeting people and chatting to them as they pass and I've been able to explain the creative process."

Mr Colvin began work on the portrait of the poet and essayist – which combines sculpture, photography, painting and installation - in early November and hopes to have it completed before Christmas.

The art work includes contributions from the public, including a book, and a letter by the poet.

 

Colvin said he chose the poet as a subject because he was a controversial figure, but also an honorary academician.

The exhibition continues into early January.

Ages of Wonder is inspired by the moment in 1910 when the Royal Scottish Academy transferred a number of significant works to the national collection in the National Galleries of Scotland (NGS), securing exhibiting rights within the building shared by the two institutions today.

The Academy had been a force behind the establishment of a national collection, and NGS and RSA had previously co-existed in what is now the National Gallery of Scotland.

Period9 Dec 2017 → 11 Dec 2017

Media coverage

2

Media coverage

  • TitleCalum Colvin's three-dimensional take on Hugh MacDiarmid takes shape at the RSA
    Degree of recognitionNational
    Media name/outletThe Herald
    Media typePrint
    Duration/Length/Size403 words
    CountryUnited Kingdom
    Date11/12/17
    DescriptionArticle on installation project at Royal Scottish Academy
    Producer/AuthorPhil Miller
    URLwww.heraldscotland.com/news/15713709.Calum_Colvin__39_s_three_dimensional_take_on_Hugh_MacDiarmid_takes_shape_at_the_RSA/
    PersonsCalum Colvin
  • TitleArtist makes 3D portrait of Hugh MacDiarmid for new exhibition
    Degree of recognitionNational
    Media name/outletThe National
    Media typePrint
    Duration/Length/Size322 words
    CountryUnited Kingdom
    Date9/12/17
    DescriptionONE of Scotland's most famous poets is depicted as you've never seen him before - in a massive 3D artwork.
    Hugh MacDiarmid stars in a huge installation by artist Calum Colvin as part of a new exhibition at the Royal Scottish Academy in Edinburgh.
    Colvin, whose unique portraits incorporate sculpture, photography and painting, has previously depicted Robert Burns and Bonnie Prince Charlie.
    His latest piece, which is not yet complete, forms part of the Ages of Wonder show, which runs until January and celebrates the history of Scottish art at the RSA.
    Colvin began work on the portrait last month, and aims to complete it before Christmas.
    It includes a letter by the writer, whose real name was Christopher Murray Grieve, as well as items given by members of the public, such as a book.
    The Dundee University professor said working on the piece in a public space has helped him connect with audiences. He said: "I normally work alone in a dark studio but it's been great meeting people and chatting to them as they pass and I've been able to explain the creative process."
    As the largest collections exhibition ever mounted by the RSA, the show includes more than 450 works by upwards of 270 artists and architects, including painter Alison Watt and Turner Prize nominee Callum Innes.
    It reunites artworks that were transferred to the national collection in the National Galleries of Scotland in 1910 and also features Jacopo Bassano's 1540 work The Adoration of the Magi.
    The Scottish Poetry Library calls Langholm-born MacDiarmid the country's "most influential and controversial writer" of the 20th century.
    Described as an "eccentric and often maddening genius" by fellow poet Edwin Morgan, he is perhaps best known for long-form modernist work A Drunk Man Looks at the Thistle, which takes on issues related to the nation and the human condition.
    He died in Edinburgh in 1978, having written extensively in both Scots and English.
    Producer/AuthorKirsten Paterson
    URLwww.thenational.scot/news/15711747.Artist_makes_3D_portrait_of_Hugh_MacDiarmid_for_new_exhibition/

Keywords

  • Hugh MacDiarmid
  • Installation
  • Portrait
  • RSA
  • Artwork