Skip to main content

Archived exhibition


Phase Three | CURRENT: Contemporary Art from Scotland

CURRENT: Contemporary Art from Scotland
Phase Three
Shanghai Himalayas Museum

Bruce McLean, I Want My Crown

Ross Sinclair, Real Life Is Dead/Long Live Real Life

Exhibition: 22 September - 10 November 2017
Opening Reception: Friday 22 September, 3pm

Bruce McLean: I Want My Crown

Exhibition tour, Bruce McLean, I Want My Crown, 2017. Images courtesy Shanghai Himalayas Museum.

Ross Sinclair | Exhibition Tour

Exhibition tour, Ross Sinclair, Real Life Is Dead/Long Live Real Life, 2017. Images courtesy Shanghai Himalayas Museum

Following the successful Phase One in 2015 and Phase Two in 2016, CURRENT: Contemporary Art from Scotland moves into Phase Three at Shanghai Himalayas Museum in September 2017.

Curated by Cooper Gallery, Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, University of Dundee in the UK in collaboration with Shanghai Himalayas Museum and organised in partnership with the British Council, CURRENT|????: Contemporary Art from Scotland is a four-phase contemporary art exhibition programme, showcasing for the first time in China the distinctiveness of contemporary art made in Scotland, its grass-roots spirit and its keen debates with the social dimensions of art and culture.

Opening remarks and press

‘The contemporary’ is measured in gesture and pose. It is an impulse, a setting into motion.

Embodying this momentum, Phase Three of CURRENT:Contemporary Art from Scotland declares ‘the contemporary’ to be the only imperative to action. Always here and now, the duration and conditions of ‘the contemporary’ define its reality. Composed and choreographed as utterance, appearance and manner, yet disavowing spectacle, Phase Three of CURRENT focuses on the elusive details, the nuances of gesture and pose that give ‘the contemporary’ its concrete “Real Life”.

Comprised of two solo exhibitions from Bruce McLean and Ross Sinclair, Phase Three of CURRENT illuminates how different experiences of ‘the contemporary’ are constituted in time. In the details of a particular walk, a well-rehearsed move or a polished rhetorical phrase, the incidental is transformed by the medium of time into moments of utterance, appearance and manner that inherently matter. Yet what matters is not the solitude of individual acts or soliloquies spoken alone, ‘the contemporary’ can only make its claim when “deeds and words” are seen and heard. Without appearing to and for others ‘the contemporary’ is insubstantial. The exhibitions in Phase Three of CURRENT capture “a space of appearance” inscribed as duration and action, revealing ‘the contemporary’ as a collective fabric of the many.

Spanning forty-eight years and enthused with an ironic take on sculpture, the first major exhibition in China of the preeminent British artist Bruce McLean will capture his subversive wit at its most ‘posed’ and incisive. At the forefront of Conceptual art in Britain in the 1960s, McLean’s work embodies a playful and critical stance on formalities and hierarchies. Not content to let it rest on a plinth, McLean levers sculpture onto the screen and into the photograph, opening up a subtle and complex mediation on the condition of sculpture, confronting institutional politics and the pretensions of the art world. Exemplified in his iconic works Fallen Warrior (1969), Pose Work for Plinths (1971) and Urban Turban (1997), McLean’s exhibition I Want My Crown is a timely rebuttal of the spectacle of ‘the contemporary’.

Ross Sinclair’s exhibition Real Life Is Dead/Long Live Real Life brings a specific inscription of ‘real life’ to China. Heralding a new phase in an ongoing project that critiques the experience of the ‘real’, Sinclair’s exhibition is a statement of commitment to a future that explores the complexity and tensions of “being in the world”. A leading figure in contemporary art in Scotland, Sinclair began the Real Life project in 1994 with the phrase tattooed on his back. Following this definitive act Sinclair developed Real Life as a series of exhibitions, performances and installations that summons a determination for individual and collective ‘real lifers’ to stand as the multiplicity and reality of ‘the contemporary’.

The Chinese-Scottish Real Life Orchestra

Ross Sinclair performing with The Chinese-Scottish Real Life Orchestra at the opening reception.

CURRENT: Contemporary Art fromScotland (Phase Three) is a collaborative project between Cooper Gallery DJCAD, University of Dundee in Scotland and Shanghai Himalayas Museum, in partnership with British Council. It is one of the programmes in the Spirit of Youth campaign in 2017, brought by the UK government including the British Council and Visit Britian.

CURRENT | Contemporary Art from Scotland is kindly supported by the British Council, China-UK Connections through Culture, The National Lottery through Creative Scotland, Scottish Government, and is part of the Spirit of Youth programme. CURRENT is a direct result of the Research and Development Trip (January 2014) funded by Creative Scotland.




Bruce McLean, Pose Work for Plinths, 1971


Ross Sinclair, Real Life Is Dead/Long Live Real Life, 2017

Ross Sinclair Real Life Is Dead

Bruce McLean, I Want My Crown, film still, 2013

Ross Sinclair, Cooper Gallery, 2017