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Drawing (on) Riverside by Patricia Cain at Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum
Designed by architectural ‘superstar’ Zaha Hadid, the Riverside opens to the public on June 21.

GLASGOW.- As Glasgow’s new transport museum prepares to open to the public next month, a unique exhibition examining the way in which a building is much more than the sum of its parts, has been seen by more than 7000 people since it opened last month.

Patricia Cain’s Drawing (on) Riverside takes its cue from the new Riverside Museum, which has been taking shape for the last four years on the site of the former Pointhouse shipyard on the River Clyde.

Designed by architectural ‘superstar’ Zaha Hadid, the Riverside opens to the public on June 21. It is Hadid’s first major public building in the UK.

Hadid is making a rare visit to Glasgow on June 9, during which time she will visit Cain’s exhibition at Kelvingrove. She is also scheduled to do a rare ‘in conversation’ event at Kelvingrove with Deyan Sudjik, director of the Design Museum in London.

During the last four years, former lawyer Patricia Cain, has immersed herself in the Riverside’s unique and intricate structure. She won two major awards, the Aspect Prize and the Threadneedle Prize, for her forensic studies of the building under construction.

Following an intense period of collaboration with four other award-winning artists; a glass artist, an architect, a printmaker and a noted educator, she has brought to life the many layers involved in the creative process in her exhibition, Drawing (on) Riverside.

With around 100 of Cain’s highly detailed studies of Hadid’s building as a backdrop and subdued lighting adding to the elegiac atmosphere, the exhibition also features archive footage from the Scottish Screen Archive.

Footage on show includes scenes from the 1941 film by Pathe News, Bombing of the Clyde, and acclaimed photographer/director Oscar Marzaroli’s futuristic film, Glasgow 1980.

Marzaroli’s 1971 film showed how the city would look in the 1980’s after the redevelopment of its traffic system and the construction of new housing developments, planned in the mid 1970s. The editor of the film was a young up-and-coming film-maker called Bill Forsyth.

Architect Ann Nisbet of Dualchas Building Design has worked with Cain to create and construct a large wooden sculpture plated in zinc, a method combining the processes used to build the Riverside Museum with those commonly used in shipbuilding. According to Nisbet, the work ‘makes connections with temporal construction techniques employed on the Clyde, both past and present’.

Phil Lavery worked together with Cain on creating and constructing a unique Pepper’s Ghost box which employs an illusionary technique used by magicians. The Pepper’s Ghost makes 3-d images out of Cain’s research for the exhibition, and combines poetry by the late Glasgow-born Scots Makar Edwin Morgan, with a backdrop of music by PJ Moore of the Blue Nile.

Inverclyde-based glass artist Alec Galloway has created a beautiful curved ‘floating’ glasswork etched with Cain’s drawings which refers to both the Riverside Museum and Clydebuilt ships.

Cain and Glasgow-based printmaker Rosalind Lawless have created a body of work which conversationally analyses the relationship between printmaking and architecture.

Cain describes the process of working on the exhibition as being similar to the collaborations involved in all construction - and deconstruction. “I found myself really drawn to the past,” she explains. There is so much history surrounding the Clyde.

“The making of these vast ships and buildings, many of which no longer exist, did not happen without extensive collaboration between all sorts of individuals. Collaboration inevitably leads to creative tension, and that is part of the finished work.”

“I’ve tried to expose the processes between us all and show how the progression of our discoveries has been worked through,” she explained. “As a result, this exhibition focuses not only on the construction of the Riverside Museum, but also on the creative and collaborative process of making.

“There has also been a collaboration with Kelvingrove to construct the exhibition and this is the first time they have allowed a living artist to curate the exhibition by making work on site. The whole exhibition is an installation in which my role has been project manager or architect.

The arts writer Jan Patience commented: “What struck me as a viewer looking at this body of work as a whole was the way in which we, as human beings, take for granted the built environment which we live among, even when it is no more.

“The area around the Clyde has gone through massive changes in the last 50 years and Cain and her fellow collaborators have explored this using the new transport museum as a starting point in a sensitive and through-provoking way.

“I was unexpectedly moved by this exhibition. I came away from it with my head filled with images of buildings decimated by the Clydebank Blitz, men in drawing offices designing ships, welders working in the shipyards and Cain’s drawings of exposed rafters and beams. P.J. Moore’s haunting music and the subdued lighting added to the overall atmosphere.

“It brought home to me the fact that without people, behind it all, living, working and dying, it all comes to dust in the end.”

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