Lost Glasgow School Of Art Degree Show Recreated From Ash

I felt that there was something very fitting and beautiful in the use of a material  born out of destruction and tragedy “giving life” to new artwork says; Melissa Maloco

Melissa Maloco, a Fine Art Photography graduate student from the GSA, lost all her work in the fire that swept through the west wing of the Mackintosh Building in May 2014. Now she has recreated part of her Degree Show using ash from the Mackintosh building fire. Her pieces will be shown alongside work by eight other artists and designers who graduated from the GSA last month in Part Seen, Imagined Part: GSA in Dunoon which runs in the Burgh Hall from 4 – 26 July 2014.

Melissa’s work creates visualisations of the everyday. Seemingly abstract images, they are the outcome of concrete acts. For the original Negotiation of Space (A Door Opening and Closing) a line of carbon dust was poured onto a sheet of paper and placed inside a doorway. The door was then opened and closed, sweeping the dust into a natural curve and mirroring the door’s movements. The dust was fixed in place, anchoring the fleeting action of something coming together and moving apart. For the recreated work she has used carbon dust from the fire and a door in the Mackintosh Building.

“Negotiation of Space (A Door Opening and Closing) was my favourite work in my Degree Show presentation,” says Melissa. “When I was invited to make work for the GSA at Dunoon exhibition my first thought was to remake this work in some way.

“Throughout my final year I had been working a lot with carbon, dust and general bi-products of the everyday from both ourselves and our environment, making large, abstract sweeping drawings with carbon as a means of representing our passage through space, and anchoring the momentary human presence.

“The fire was such a huge, pivotal moment in all of our lives making the pieces felt necessary as a means of processing the event. The fact that the carbon used in these drawings came directly from the Mackintosh building after the fire added another layer to the already loaded material.  

“I felt that there was something very fitting and beautiful in the use of a material born out of destruction and tragedy “giving life” to new artwork.  Also, being granted access to the Mack post-fire to create the work really helped me to deal with and process the incident.

“The carbon used in the drawings came from both the Library and Studio 32, my own Degree show space, and the drawings serve as a sort of conclusion to this area of my practice.  

“There is power in their subtlety that speaks of the incident and the emotions felt far more effectively than my words ever could.”

 Also on show in the exhibition is Survival II, an installation made of raku-fired ceramic stones resting on black sand by Painting & Printmaking graduate Lin Chau. The name of the piece has taken on an added resonance since the fire. Lin’s original work had been created for Degree Show and as it was installed in the east wing of the Mackintosh building it was one of the artworks that survived unscathed.

Part Seen, Imagined Part: GSA in Dunoon has been curated by GSA alumni Theresa Moerman Ib and Colm Docherty. It features work by jeweller Ellis Mhairi Cameron, Communication Design graduate Zheng Li and pieces by Fine Art graduates Lin Chau, Romy Galloway, Joe Hancock, Melissa Maloco, Nicola Massie, Frank McElhinney and Norman Sutton-Hibbert.

“The title of this year’s GSA in Dunoon show is borrowed from one of Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s watercolour drawings made in 1896,” says Theresa Moerman Ib. “It reflects the unique process involved in selecting this year’s graduates for the exhibition due to the fire that damaged and destroyed part of the Mackintosh Building and the Fine Art Degree Show.”

“We were able to view some works physically, some survived only as photographic representations and some were lost entirely and had to be described to us verbally,”  she adds. “By partly seeing existing work and partly imagining what the selected artists would be able to present, we worked to curate a show that provides a visual and mental space for reflection on the events that have affected the entire GSA community over the past weeks.”

The exhibition, which also features a digital slideshow of images submitted by each student from the final year in Fine Art, which was recently presented at the showcase at Glasgow’s McLellan Galleries, celebrates the resilient spirit of the GSA graduates as they continue to make their mark beyond the boundaries of the GSA.

Image: curator Theresa Moerman Ib with Melissa Maloco’s Negotiation of Space (A Door Closing and Opening) created using ash from her studio which was destroyed in the fire in the Mackintosh building along with all her Degree Show work.

Related Posts

Rainsongs, the new book by Sue Hubbard, out now
Claudio Crismani in concert - 25 January 2018, 6:30pm / St Stephen Walbrook
Open Source Salon with Hauser and Wirth - A new monthly discussion group
Advertise your next show on Artlyst from £200 per week