Quick off the mark, I took in the first day of the latest exhibition at Dundee Contemporary Arts. The trouble is, it’s taken me about three weeks to finally get round to sharing these with you.
Luckily, the exhibition runs until May this year, so plenty of time to take this one in.
As part of Scotland’s ongoing Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design, Dundee’s quite fantastic DCA complex hosts this fascinating exhibition exploring art and architecture inspired by modernity and nature (although, truth be told, it was more the modernity element I was interested in) from the mid 1900s to the present day.
While the whole exhibition is a very interesting, I was specifically drawn to the work on the Peter Womersley designed Bernat Klein Studio in Selkirk, deep in the Scottish Borders. Subsequently, I found out that Gala Fairydean Rovers FC’s main stand is also one of Womersley’s – another structure I’m really fond of (see directly below).
Described quite interestingly as “a challenging Modernist manifesto of a building”, any time I’ve come across photographs of it I’ve been really captivated by it.
You can almost imagine Klein strolling from his house through the woods to this stark building, set in huge contrast to the forests of the borders, captured in some amazing black & white and colour photography from Colin McLean.
Unfortunately the images were difficult to reproduce without playing a starring role in the reflection…
Having not visited the studio, it was also interesting to take a look around a 1:50 model by Jonathan Middleton.
Clearly no substitute for visiting in person, but allowing you to understand the full construction after viewing the photographs was really helpful to figuring out the size and shape of the building.
Special mention to the really cool video piece by Smith/Stewart, focussing on the Womersley building south of Maidens, near Turnberry in Ayrshire.
It has fallen into disrepair, and while the video piece captures the line it treads between the cliff and the sea, it also catches it as it rides a knife edge between existence and demolition.
Other highlights that made the trip more than worthwhile were the images of Morris & Steedman’s incredible private modernist creations (see directly below for the most spectacular – difficult to capture this one, however) and David Harding’s art in Fife town Glenrothes.
Within the new towns of Scotland, Harding’s work, early on developing as sculptures – later conceptual, offering memorable landmarks within the uniformity of housing estates.
Catch some of the other interesting pieces, and check out more of the layout of this exhibition in the short video clip I made while visiting. Better still, make the journey along before May 1st to take this one in – a must for modernist architecture fans, especially within Scotland.