Visions for the Future: Part I – Martin Boyce: When Now is Night

25.09.99 – 13.11.99

This exhibition  was part of Visions for the Future: a project initiated by Fruitmarket to commission substantial new bodies of work by young Scottish artists, which ran from 1999 to 2003. Part I showed the work of Martin Boyce in the lower gallery and Ross Sinclair in the upper gallery.

Boyce produced an installation occupying two galleries on the ground floor. In the first room wallpaper designed by the artist covered the walls; a monochrome geometric pattern inspired by the title sequence of Alfred Hitchcock’s film North By Northwest, in which an animated linear grid is revealed to be tracing the facade of a glass, modernist office block. Boyce’s work, cinematic in scale, placed the viewer in a fictional, unnamed city, the texture, rhythm and order of a modern metropolis recognisable in the pattern. ‘It does not simply depict the glass skin of building, but operates as a graphic soundtrack for the generic metropolis’ – Martin Boyce. 

On the other side of the glass facade, fluorescent light and air conditioning replace day light and fresh air. In the second room a series of fluorescent light fittings drawing out a graphic spider’s web were suspended from the ceiling. The tension between the natural and the artificial struck Boyce when one day he noticed a spider had spun its web on the window in front of his desk. ‘It was a perfect diagram of a web, exactly as you would draw one. It was then, with its order and repetition, that I noticed its similarity to the grid. The web was a tiny detail in relation to the scale of the city, yet like the city it was well used as dramatic and potent image.’

Kate Livingstone
Marketing Assistant


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