Jacqueline Donachie, In Possession of My City (detail), 2021
Govan Project Space
11 - 27 June 2021
The exhibition STEP was created as a response to the often challenging access for buildings and venues. Using inventive research based on the simple step, Donachie alludes to both the limits and access they provide. By exercising an overlay of the temporary solutions we often see when adapting old buildings for the public, in particular the use of ramps, Donachie considers how we travel to and access buildings both physically and conceptually.
Three new works are shown; STEP is cast from pigmented concrete blocks covering 20 square metres, sited at Govan Graving Docks, in Glasgow. The location sits on the edge of the river Clyde close to Glasgow city centre, which is visible to the east looking across the vast and vacant contested space that itself is weighed down by the demands of heritage, the restrictions of civic funds and the need for restoration and development. The piece is based on imaginary and unfeasible overlay ramps for two of the buildings originally surveyed - Civic House (built 1920’s) and The Royal Faculty of Procurators building (built 1850’s). The concrete ramps act as a visualisation of something awkward and cumbersome, the standard response where steps make an entrance inaccessible; broken up, they create a place to commune and begin a much needed discussion about new ways for everyone to access their city.
The works in the gallery are made in response to the absurd idea of producing a ramp to aid access to Queens Park railway station, a popular commuter hub in the Southside of the city. Like many older railway stations in Scotland including most of the Glasgow subway system, Queens Park was built with many stairs and no lifts. Our ambitious Victorian infrastructure, designed by ambitious Victorian men, makes access almost impossible for every pram, limp, stick or wheel that approaches it.
This ambitious new work not only challenges our built environment and its effect on those marginalised by it’s incoherent nature but it also questions the role that temporary large scale public art can have in highlighting wider civic concerns.