THE largest modern art exhibition ever staged in Scotland, celebrating the work and achievements of a generation of artists, many trained at Glasgow School of Art, will open tomorrow with major shows in Glasgow and Edinburgh.
Sir John Leighton, the general director of the National Galleries of Scotland, which is mounting the £1 million Generation shows at 60 venues across the country, said that he hopes they will lead to more public recognition for the work of more than 100 artists.
At the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh there is work by Turner Prize-winners Douglas Gordon and Simon Starling, room-size installations by Ross Sinclair, Graham Fagen and Claire Barclay, and work by Alison Watt, Jonathan Owen, Toby Paterson, Roderick Buchanan and many others.
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At the Scottish National Gallery on The Mound, there is a re-setting of a notable piece by the late painter Steven Campbell, On Form and Fiction, which was shown at the Third Eye Centre in Glasgow in 1990, as well as works by Turner- winner Martin Boyce, David Shrigley, Rosalind Nashashibi, Karla Black, and Christine Borland's L'Homme Double - featuring busts of infamous Nazi doctor Josef Mengele - which has not previously been shown in Scotland.
Opening in Glasgow this weekend are shows by Cathy Wilkes, Joanne Tatham and Tom O'Sullivan, Moyan Flannigan, Sara Barker and Douglas Gordon, among others.
Sir John said: "In a way Scottish artists' success has been more feted abroad than at home, and there is a sense that perhaps Scotland celebrates its writers, its musicians more than its visual artists.
"So part of this show is about a celebration of these artists and their achievements and hopefully it will capture the imagination of the audience at home, and with a fair wind it will.
"We hope there will be a younger audience, and the audience that usually comes to see the Scottish Colourists and so on will give it a shot."
Alison Watt, the noted painter, said: "The work is so incredibly diverse, and this is the first time we have been able to see ourselves in some kind of context.
"I think the shows say: this is how good the teaching was at Glasgow School of Art - because it allowed us to do anything we wanted.
"That is what is exciting about the shows: every artist is so different, that is exciting, and so is the fact that we are all still here and absolutely committed to making work."
She added: "We are seeing snapshots of people's life's work, which is very important."
Claire Barclay, who presents new work in the show in Edinburgh, said: "What really comes across is the diversity and the depth of each person's work - it feels like lots of solo shows but they sit together with each other very well."
The exhibits include Gordon's 24 Hour Psycho, Fagen's Peek-A-Jobby and woodcuts by Shrigley not previously seen in the UK.