R o g e r  F a r n h a m                   F A C S I M I L I Z A T I O N

The Lighthouse, Glasgow

12 February to 31 March 2018

I’ve known Alasdair Gray through the Glasgow Print Studio for over 30 years.  I’ve also known the mural he completed in 1965 - it’s in a neighbour’s house - for twenty years, and that Alasdair wanted to fix it.  Before then as an evening class attendee / ‘boy-printmaker’ at the Print Studio, I was very familiar with the original set of Lanark illustration lithographs which Dominic Synder was printing soon after the book was published; my neighbour’s mural was a similar style.

Unfortunately since his accident, Alasdair has been wheelchair bound so climbing up a 4m high mural was no longer an option.  I offered to photograph the mural for him and maybe he could make some some manual fixes on smaller scale prints, and I could add them to the ‘original’ using Photoshop. It started out as it said on the tin: I photographed it and printed him a 1/4 scale image in nine A1-size sections. The plan was that after Alasdair had tweaked the prints, I would photograph or scan them, and then re-integrate them with the ‘original’.

Alasdair has reworked the total mural; so a bit more creative Photoshop-ery than originally planned was required. Lin Chau, who helped Alasdair on the Hillhead Subway mural, has been even more involved than me in that domain. The original monochrome mural is now definitely a colour work.

It’s now called FACSIMILIZATION: Before and After

It’s still 4m high; it’s got the same spacial relationship of the key components.  It’s now a modern Alasdair Gray, with more in common with his (screenprinted) reworked versions of the Lanark illustrations and his Scottish Hippo series of screenprints. You can see those on the GPS website.

After is used to describe a copy, often with the new artist’s interpretation: Alasdair has made an After of his own work.  In the exhibition the Before is addressed by a photograph taken by Oscar Marzarolli in 1965 of Alasdair in front of the almost completed mural. I’ve made a couple of laser cut wood engravings to reproduce some details from the original version: the wood engravings are both Before and After. There’s also a two sided image: Alasdair traced new versions the back of photographs laid on a lightbox.  The goddess’s head was reworked a number of times; the framed version exhibited is somewhere in the middle of this process.

After Alasdair Gray 1965: Sculptor

laser-cut wood engraving

image size: 32 x 24 cms

After Alasdair Gray 1965:Rosemary

laser-cut wood engraving

image size: 32 x 24 cms