Turner Prize winning artist Elizabeth Price set for Glasgow exhibition focused on city’s textile heritage

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A Turner Prize winning artist is set for their first exhibition in Scotland, focusing on the textile heritage of Glasgow.

Referencing and employing never seen before archival material, the commission will focus on the textile heritage of Glasgow’s industrial age and in particular Stoddard International Plc and James Templeton & Co. Ltd, world-famous carpet manufacturers based in Renfrewshire and Glasgow.

Underfoot will be developed in partnership with The Hunterian, Panel, Fiona Jardine (The Glasgow School of Art) and Dovecot Studios in Edinburgh.

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Working with these partners, artist Elizabeth Price will create an ambitious new moving image installation and bespoke textile work - the artist’s first in this medium - both of which will be acquired by The Hunterian. The textile piece also marks Price’s first major commission in a medium other than video in over five years.

Award-winning artist Elizabeth Price.Award-winning artist Elizabeth Price.
Award-winning artist Elizabeth Price.

Elizabeth Price is an artist who creates powerful, accessible and innovative works that address social history. Her 2012 Turner-Prize-winning film The Woolworths Choir of 1979 stitched together news footage of a fatal fire in a Manchester branch of Woolworth’s with a TV performance by the Shangri-Las and digital animations analysing the cultural and political relationships between the two, to profoundly moving effect.

In her existing oeuvre, Price creates narrative works that feature historic artefacts and documents, often of marginal significance or derogated value. Her selection and treatment of them is shaped by a politics of gender and social class and she often uses historical material to consider and give expression to the adjacent blind spots, oversights and erasures of particular archives and museum collections.

Underfoot was developed by Price’s 2020 Research Fellowship with the University of Glasgow Library, that facilitated access to the archives of the Stoddard and Templeton carpet and textile factories, held within the University Archives and Special Collections and which encompasses thousands of design sketches, photos, books, journals and carpet pieces. Stoddard International Plc and James Templeton & Co. Ltd were world-famous carpet manufacturers based in Renfrewshire and Glasgow respectively, operational during the 19th and 20th century.

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Alongside the development of new textile and video works by Price, a public programme will engage communities local to Stoddard and Templeton’s former sites (in Renfrewshire and the East End of Glasgow) which it is hoped will bring new audiences to The Hunterian for the first time.

Elizabeth Price said, “I’m delighted to be working with The Hunterian, Panel, Dovecot, Glasgow University Archives and Fiona Jardine of The Glasgow School of Art on this project. It is a great pleasure to spend time getting to know the extraordinary Stoddard Templeton archives, and to be entrusted to respond to them. I am not quite sure yet where this project will take me, but I know I will reflect upon the carpet as an image of terrain, and the looms that wove them as vast systems of data storage.

“The work I usually make is described as video, but it is always a composition in sound as much as image, and this emphasis has a special significance for me in this commission. I first visited Glasgow and Edinburgh in the early eighties to perform in a band and I came to know these cities through their post-punk music. That experience will inflect both the moving image work and the textile commission. In respect of that, It is a profound pleasure and challenge to have the opportunity to create a textile for this project, along with the expert weavers at Dovecot. I am fascinated to work with a medium so technically related, and sensually estranged from video”

Dominic Paterson, curator of contemporary art, The Hunterian, said, “The Hunterian is very grateful to receive Creative Scotland funding to support our forthcoming exhibition with Elizabeth Price. We are particularly excited that this public funding will enable her to make an ambitious new body of work and that it means the work will become part of The Hunterian's permanent collection. This project has been developed through close collaboration with Panel, Dovecot and Fiona Jardine, and it was supported by a research fellowship at the University of Glasgow Library which gave Elizabeth access to the remarkable archival resources held there.

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“Underfoot is a key moment in our ongoing effort to make our exhibitions and collections more meaningful and relevant to audiences today. Elizabeth's work considers major issues in contemporary culture: using digital animation, she has raised questions of power, gender, value and language in post-war history, often thinking in particular about how technology and culture intersect. In Underfoot these themes will be explored through the specific context of the Stoddart Templeton archives, giving the project a profound connection to Glasgow and its heritage. We are thrilled that Elizabeth and our collaborators have been so committed to the project and can't wait to share its results with our visitors in November.”

The exhibition takes place from November 11 , 2022– April 16, 2023.

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