The Failing Light
but Polmadie Shines

The Failing Light but Polmadie Shines

27 April – 23 June 2019

Studio Pavilion at House for an Art Lover is excited to present the first exhibition in its 2019 programme. The Failing Light but Polmadie Shines is the first solo exhibition by Glasgow based artist and filmmaker Callum Rice. Since graduating from The Glasgow School of Art in 2013 Callum has directed and produced a number of short films that intimately explore and depict social and personal histories and sites from across Glasgow and Scotland.

Following in the vein of previous film works, the project and exhibition at the Studio Pavilion takes as its starting point the work of Glasgow born architect and engineer Archibald Leitch. Leitch began his career designing factories with the sole surviving example being the category A listed Sentinel Works at Jessie Street, Polmadie. He also went on to become Britain’s foremost football architect. In total he was commissioned to design part or all of more than 20 stadiums in the UK and Ireland between 1899 and 1939.

April 2019 marks 80 years since Leitch died. To examine his work within the context of a gallery in the city of his birth seems fitting.

Rice’s film focuses specifically on Leitch’s Polmadie Sentinel works which is the last of his factories known to have survived. It was the first steel-reinforced concrete building in Scotland and the third oldest to survive in the UK. Although it is listed category A, as a building of significant national importance, it is now derelict.

Through moving image, sound-scape, original salvaged architectural objects, typography & print, the exhibition explores the shared, transferable language of industrial design that translated into football grounds in the United Kingdom and its lasting social impact. The significance of two places & sites, factory and football field, is considered in the context of their impact on the lives of many, exploring how Archibald’s work spanned across the two. By bringing the building into the gallery through film and sound Rice offers an alternate insight into an overlooked subject and disparate place and does so through the alternative medium of artist film and sculptural installation.

The exhibition centres around Rice’s new film Ever Watchful and On The Alert: a Pibroch to Archie. The film collages found footage and newsreel from the National Library of Scotland with footage shot inside the Sentinel Works as it stands in its present condition. The film itself does not feature a specific football match yet serves as a perspective into his contribution to industrial and stadia design and its impact, as well as presenting the correlations in design, form, style and function. This is made more apparent by the objects and still images Callum has brought together for the show.

Visitors to the gallery are invited to view the film leaning against a piece of Leitch design, a football stadium barrier, presenting The Sentinel Works as an alternative Grandstand. Originally designed and patented by Leitch in 1906, the distinctive barriers were installed at football and rugby grounds all over Britain until at least the mid-1950’s. An image by British photographer Martin Parr’s sited on the wall to the left of the screen England. Bradford Football Club at night, 1979 illustrating the barrier in use. The barrier on display, on loan from Hampden Football Museum, is now part of their archive and thought to be one of only two remaining in the country.

Rice’s first short film Mining Poems or Odes, 2015 won the Best Short Film award at The British Academy of Film and Television Arts, Scotland, 2015 and was nominated for Best Short Film at the EE British Academy Film and television Arts Awards in 2016. As well as being selected to screen in competition at the Sundance Film Festival, Utah 2016. Listen to Bridgeton, 2017 was chosen to screen at BFI Southbank and on BBC Four as part of a celebration of the 75th anniversary of Listen to Britain, Humphrey Jennings and Stewart McAllister’s poetic collage of British life. Rice’s most recent short titled Mary 2018 was commissioned by Film Roundhouse and shown on the BBC.

Programme of Talks:

We’re excited to announce a series of talks that have been programmed alongside the exhibition expanding upon some of Callum’s research interests as well as providing an insight into a variety of subjects touched upon by the exhibition.

Dr Fiona Skillen, Wednesday 1 May 2019, 6-7pm Women and Sport in Interwar Scotland

Simon Inglis, Tuesday 28 May 2019, 6-7pm Archie Leitch – Man of Steel and Concrete

Neil Clements, Tuesday 4 June 2019, 6-7pm Contemporary Art’s Relationship to Industrial Space

Fergus Sutherland, Tuesday 11 June 2019, 6-7pm Football is the Ballet of the Masses

All of the talks are free and can be booked through our Eventbrite page. 

This exhibition and the associated programme is kindly supported by; The WM Mann Foundation, The Hope Scott Trust, Glasgow Visual Artists Award, Glasgow City Heritage Trust, Scottish Football Museum Hampden and Glasgow Sculpture Studios.