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Exhibition offers a survey of some of the finest photographs that Calum Colvin has produced
Calum Colvin RSA, Mute Swan, 1993. Archival digital print on Hahnemühle German etching FB paper in oak frame, 104 x 125 cm. Edition of 10. Photo: Calum Colvin, courtesy of Royal Scottish Academy.



EDINBURGH.- Calum Colvin RSA is internationally renowned as a artist who has challenged the boundaries of photographic media. In recognition of this achievement Tom Normand HRSA has completed a study of Colvin’s photography titled The Constructed Worlds of Calum Colvin: Symbol, Allegory, Myth. This book is a thematic exploration of Colvin’s photography; recognising its complexity, intrigue, erudition and humour.

In appreciation of this occasion the Royal Scottish Academy of Art and Architecture is presenting this exhibition of Calum Colvin’s art. In part a selected retrospective, in part a review of highlights from his oeuvre, this exhibition offers a survey of some of the finest photographs that Colvin has produced. These works reflect upon the conditions of culture in Scotland, the tangled character of contemporary society, and the potential catastrophe that surrounds human ambitions.

Critically-acclaimed for his complex constructed photographs, Colvin is known for creating three-dimensional stage sets involving household objects which are overpainted with subjects that relate to art history, popular culture, literature and mythology. Colvin’s constructed photographic artworks begin as large-scale studio ‘stage-sets’: tableaux of everyday objects, furniture and bric-a-brac carefully posed and theatrically lit. Viewed from the fixed-point perspective of a large-format camera, painted trompe-l’oeil elements are introduced, integrating object and subject in a complex mise en scène. These are finally photographed on film, digitized and printed onto paper or canvas. These visual illusions and allegories are intended to draw the viewer into a creative dialogue as the images are interpreted, touching on contemporary concerns relating to society, the environment and aspects of national identity.

As Tom Normand says: 'Colvin’s constructed worlds, realised as effervescent photographs, explore the precarious nature of our world: mixing pathos with humour, intelligence with passion, and exposition with revelation. These are photographs that captivate, entertain and fascinate in equal measure.'

Normand's fully colour-illustrated book, The Constructed Worlds of Calum Colvin, Symbol, Allegory, Myth (Luath, 2019), will be available to purchase during the exhibition.

Born in Glasgow in 1961, Calum Colvin RSA has exhibited his work nationally and internationally for over thirty years since graduating from the Royal College of Art, London, in 1985. He was a winner of one of the first Scottish Arts Council Creative Scotland Awards from which he created the acclaimed exhibition for the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Ossian, Fragments of Ancient Poetry, in 2001. In the same year he was awarded an OBE and he is Professor of Fine Art Photography and Associate Dean at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, University of Dundee. His works have been widely exhibited in venues as diverse as Orkney, Los Angeles and Ecuador, and are represented in numerous collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Museum of Fine Art, Houston; The Tate Gallery, London; and the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh.










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