Travelling Gallery returns to the road

Marking 40 years of 'art in a bus', the Travelling Gallery will mark its birthday with a new exhibition.

The new solo exhibition Black Box Take Stock is by Glasgow based artist Gordon Douglas. He was invited to explore the archives and travel with the bus in order to produce an exciting new installation which will tour across Scotland, ensuring people from every background and community have the opportunity to engage with excellent, experimental and inspiring art practices.  

Douglas became interested in the operation and upkeep of the vehicle itself and, as a performance artist,  acts of maintenance. Using the literal mechanics of the bus to create a personalised birthday celebration, Douglas has created an entertaining exhibition which also explores bigger questions about the sustainability of the organisation. 

The exhibition borrows its title from the two meanings of Black Box. Firstly, within contemporary set design (ie the Black Box Theatre); and secondly within transit technology (ie the device used in aircraft to monitor and evidence the vehicle and driver's performance). Taking Stock refers to Travelling Gallery's 40th birthday celebrations, which has seen the organisation pause and look back at its rich history before looking ahead to its future. 

On the occasion of Travelling Gallery’s 40th Birthday Douglas became concerned in what it might mean to become a birthday specialist. He therefore uses the profession of the birthday-gram, a singing telegram who writes and performs personalised greetings for friends and family as a gift, as this birthday embodiment. Originating from the telegram, the birthday-gram was an attempt by Western Union in the 1930s to raise the popularity and opinion of the communication method, which had previously been associated with delivering bad or tragic news. The new singing telegram could be hired to sing joyous messages that would comically relay private and intimate details about the recipient.

For Black Box Take Stock, Douglas collaborated with Mike Collins, aka 'The Wandering Minstrel', a birthday-gram based in Barrhead to write and perform a new song for Travelling Gallery's 40th birthday. Mike sang the song in various behind-the-scenes locations on Travelling Gallery's tour, for example the bus depots, petrol stations, lay-bys, and car pounds - all the places the bus uses when it’s not open to the public.

Councillor Donald Wilson, the city’s Culture and Communities Convener, said: Councillor Donald Wilson, the city’s Culture and Communities Convener, said: “Yet again the Travelling Gallery plays host to a unique and thought-provoking exhibition, highlighting some of the best contemporary art being produced in Scotland today.

"The Council has proudly supported the mobile gallery since 1997, providing the curators with a home at the City Art Centre and a base for the bus itself.

“Those involved have taken art straight into the hearts of town centres for decades, both rural and city communities, supporting the nation’s visual arts scene in the process. This is a clever and fitting piece of work from Gordon Douglas for its big birthday. I hope everyone takes the opportunity to pay it a visit."

Claire Craig, Curator of The Travelling Gallery said; “It has been hugely enjoyable, inspiring, and fitting to work with Gordon Douglas in Travelling Gallery’s 40th year. The exhibition continues Travelling Gallery’s excellent history of collaborating and commissioning new work by young Scottish artists and Gordon has grabbed the opportunity with both hands and worked incredibly hard to produce work which on the surface is vibrant and playful but underneath is very intelligent and asks bigger questions about the future of our organisation. We can’t wait to take Black Box Take Stock on the road and celebrate our with audiences across Scotland.”

Gordon Douglas would like to thank the following, without the kind and generous support Black Box Take Stock could not exist: the wonderful Travelling Gallery staff and volunteers, Claire Craig, Andrew Menzies, Rab Queen, Jo Arksey, Sheila Capewell, Vicky Konieczny; Mike Collins aka ‘The Wandering Minstrel’; Glasgow Vintage Vehicle Trust, Graycoll Uphall, BP Garage Deer Park, Edinburgh Car Pound; Edinburgh City Council; City Art Centre; Creative Scotland; Seán Elder, Cicely Farrer, James Harding, Dom Hastings, Hannah James, Adam Lewis-Jacob, and Amy Pickles. 

17 - 22 August - Edinburgh Art Festival
Friday 17 August - Portobello Town Hall see below Exhibition Launch - 6.30 - 8.30pm
Saturday 18 August - Portobello Town Hall High Street Portobello EH15 1AF 11am - 5pm
Monday 20 August - Leith Walk outside Punjabi Junction EH6 5DT 11am - 5pm
Tuesday 21 August - Ratho Library School Wynd Ratho EH28 8TT 11am - 5pm
Wednesday 22 August - Craigmillar Library 101 Niddrie Mains Road EH16 4DS 11am - 5pm

29 August - 1 September - Argyll & Bute
Wednesday 29 August - Lochgilphead Schools
Thursday 30 August - Lochgilphead Schools
Friday 31 August - Templar Arts and Leisure Centre
Saturday 1 September - Templar Arts and Leisure Centre Harbour Street Tarbert PA29 6UD

5 - 12 September - Shetland Isles - with support from Northlink Ferries
Thursday 6 September - Baltasound Junior High School (Fetlar Primary School visiting).
Friday 7 September - Whalsay School
Saturday 8 September - Mareel North Ness Lerwick ZE1 0WQ
Monday 10 September - Aith Junior High School
Tuesday 11 September - Brae High School
Wednesday 12 September - Sandwick School

27 - 29 September - Findhorn Bay Arts Festival
Thursday 27 September - Tesco Forres Nairn Road Forres IV36 2EY 11am - 5pm
Friday 28 September - Tesco Forres as above 11am - 5pm
Saturday 29 September - Tesco Forres as above 11am - 5pm

9 - 13 October - Aberdeen City
Wednesday 10 October - Aberdeen Treasure Hub Granitehill Road AB16 7AX

29 October - 2 November - East Lothian

5 - 9 November - Central Scotland
Monday 5 November - Platform 1000 Westerhouse Road Glasgow G34 9JW
Tuesday 6 November - West Lothian College
Thursday 8 November - Stirling University Pathfoot Building FK9 4LA 11am - 5pm
Friday 9 November - Queen Margaret University

12 - 16 November - Renfrewshire

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