Exhibition Preview: Richard Hughes: Where It All Happened Once, Tramway, Glasgow, until December 16 2012
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There is no doubt about the showstopper in the latest show by Richard Hughes. The sculptor is well used to working to the scale of a soiled mattress or a painted sofa, but this is surely the first time he has realised the indoor installation of an entire building.
The dark brick structure, parked at some 30 degrees to the floor in Tramway 2, one of the largest single space galleries in Europe, is guaranteed to stop you in your tracks. You may hardly notice the weirdly figurative streetlamps, which stand lookout, or stride towards the washed up building.
It all poses questions about the function of a gallery. The sculpture represents a community centre, but does Tramway play a similar role? And what to make of the way this centre is crowbarred into the space? It couldn’t be any less accessible.
Hughes is not, of course, alone in presenting a complete building as a piece of sculpture. Michael Landy put his father’s semi-detached house in the Duveen Galleries at Tate Britain; Rachel Whiteread cast the interior of a Victorian terrace in East London.
But houses are less ironic spaces than community centres. Succesful artists may live in houses, but it is less likely they frequent a low rent centre like this one proposed by Hughes. Community art is sometimes even looked down on, to give Hughes' piece an additional edge.
With this show at Tramway, the artist demonstrates both ambition and intrigue. Drop in and witness a landmark in his career.
- Open Tuesday-Friday 12pm-5pm (6pm Saturday and Sunday). Admission free.