Ross Birrell (b. 1969 in Paisley, Scotland) lives and works in Glasgow, Scotland.
Birrell employs a range of media including film, sculpture, installation, music, text, events and publications to produce works which interweave contexts of poetry, philosophy, politics, and place. He works both solo and collaboratively in gallery-based installations, site-specific projects, concerts and publications. Birrell’s ongoing Envoy project of site-specific actions across the globe, responds to traditions of radical politics and utopian literature and is published in An Envoy Reader (LemonMelon, London, 2014). Other works explore classical musical forms in personal, poetic and political contexts which often form the basis of recitals, films and audio installations, including: Duet (2013) a work for two violas performed by Palestinian and Israeli musicians; Sonata (2013) a composition for piano trio, performed in the Non-Catholic Cemetery, Rome; A Beautiful Living Thing (2015) performed in the Mackintosh building in the aftermath of the fire; and Fugue (2017), a work developed in collaboration with Syrian violinist and composer Ali Moraly for documenta 14.
Solo shows include: Where Language Ends (with David Harding), Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh, Scotland (2015); Winter Line (with David Harding), Kunsthalle Basel, Basel, Switzerland (2014); Duet, Rothko Chapel, Houston, USA (2013); Duet, Keats-Shelley House, Rome, Italy (2013); You Like This Garden? (with David Harding), Portikus, Frankfurt am Main, Germany (2011); Guantanamera (with David Harding), intervention For Rent: Consuelo Castañeda, Americas Society, New York, USA (2010).
Group exhibitions include: documenta 14 (2017); New Work from Glasgow, Anatomy Theatre, University College Cork, Ireland (2015); The Beginnings of that Freedome, Westminster Hall, Houses of Parliament, London, England (2015); The Independent, MAXXI: National Museum of the 21st Century Arts, Rome, Italy (2015); Counterpoint (part of Generation: 25 Years of Contemporary Art in Scotland & Edinburgh Art Festival), Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh, Scotland (2014); Risk – Creative Action in Political Culture (Glasgow International), CCA, Glasgow, Scotland (2005).
The Transit of Hermes
This exhibition brings together major film projects by Ross Birrell originally commissioned for documenta 14.
In the film Criollo, an Argentine horse stands at the gateway to New York’s Central Park. How did this solitary animal get there? Is it angel, apparition or gift? Or envoy of a revolution to come?
Criollo was inspired by Tschiffely’s Ride, an equestrian journey from Buenos Aires to New York (1925-1928) which also inspired Birrell’s 2017 Athens-Kassel Ride. Documentation of this journey is exhibited here for the first time. Integral to this work is The Transit of Hermes, the journey of a Greek Arravani horse named after the God of border crossings.
Supported by Creative Scotland.
Fri 20 April – Sun 3 June
Mon – Sat, 11am-6pm
Sun, 12 noon-6pm