First Solo Exhibition in Scotland from Elizabeth Price to Focus on Our Textile Heritage

Glasgow’s Hunterian Museum announces, UNDERFOOT, the first solo exhibition in Scotland by Turner Prize winning artist Elizabeth Price. UNDERFOOTwas developed by Price’s 2020 Research Fellowship with the University of Glasgow Library that facilitated her access to the archives of the world-famous Scottish carpet and textile factories, Stoddard International Plc and James Templeton & Co. Ltd, held within the University Archives and Special Collections, that encompass thousands of design sketches, photos, books, journals and carpet pieces.

UNDERFOOT is being developed in partnership with The Hunterian, Panel, Fiona Jardine of The Glasgow School of Art (GSA) and Dovecot Studios in Edinburgh. Working with these partners, the artist will create an ambitious new moving image work and bespoke textile piece – her first in this medium – both of which have been commissioned by The Hunterian for its permanent collection. The textile piece also marks Price’s first major commission in a medium other than video in over five years.

Elizabeth Price is an artist who creates innovative works that address social history. Her 2012 Turner Prize-winning work, The Woolworths Choir of 1979, stitched together news footage of a fatal fire in a Manchester branch of Woolworth’s with a TV performance by the Shangri-Las and digital animations analysing the cultural and political relationships between the two, to profoundly moving effect. Throughout her oeuvre, Price creates narrative works that feature historic artefacts and documents, often of marginal significance or derogated value. Her selection and treatment of them is shaped by a politics of gender and social class. She often uses historical material to consider and give expression to the adjacent blind spots, oversights and erasures of some archives and museum collections.

Price saidAs an artist working in digital media, I am also really fascinated by the shared technical histories of woven textiles and computing, and most of the industrialised carpet production of Templetons directly employed jacquard technologies, or processes derived from the Jacquard loom. Understanding the relation between carpets and data in this way, perhaps also offers ways to think about the realm or terrain they visualise: related to the creation of digital or virtual worlds. But, I am always also interested in the political and social histories and/impacts of cultural artefacts, and this is why part of the project focuses upon the use of carpet in civic and public space – specifically the Mitchell Library with its intensely coloured and patterned carpets, which have unexpected psychedelic effect. If carpets imagine another space, what space was/is imagined here?” 

Alongside the exhibition, the Hunterian and the GSA will present a two-day symposium in March 2023 as well as a public programme of talks and events during the run of the exhibition. 

UNDERFOOT is funded by the National Lottery through Creative Scotland with support from GSA and Kingston University.

The exhibition opens to the public from 11thth November 2022 – 16th April 2023. 

Irene Brown

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