Glasgow Sculpture Studios is pleased to present an exhibition of new commissions and recent works by six contemporary artists. Curated by Kyla McDonald and Laura McLean-Ferris, Till the stars turn cold features work by artists who display an interest in objects and bodies that carry speech.
In a pivotal scene from Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly’s 1952 film ‘Singin’ in the Rain’, set during Hollywood’s transition from silent movies to talking pictures in the late 1920s, the rich warm vocal tones of aspiring actress Kathy Selden (Debbie Reynolds) are dubbed onto footage of the beautiful, yet shrill, star actress Lina Lamonte (Jean Hagen), as she delivers her line “our love will last till the stars turn cold”. The stitching of the perfect voice onto perfect image has certain shades of Pygmalion, or even Frankenstein. What is certainly clear, however, is that under the new recording regime, Lamonte has been tested and found wanting. Love triangles and musical numbers aside, the narrative is driven by a moment of crisis in which humans scramble to adjust their speech to suit a new market created by technological development.
Till the stars turn cold brings together the work of six artists who are attentive to the different ways voices travel through objects, bodies, mechanisms, and situations, and to the moments of failure, breakage and slippage that reveal structural conceits and rules. Each work variously highlights the ways in which acts of speech, public and private, respond to the particular pressures of their time. A number of historically popular figures and celebrities from mass media – who while granted a public voice often struggle with the weight of carrying it – are present throughout the show. The exhibition’s focus is on irksome moments when language is disrupted: masks slip, tapes skip, words are misspelled or illegible, tongues misbehave and sentences, unfinished, are left hanging in the air. Poetic logic, confused speech, and failure to perform offer a sense of momentarily breaking with protocol, particularly in today’s over-narrated present.