A Public Announcement
4 September – 24 October 1998
Following on from his highly acclaimed public artwork Urban Sanctuary Nathan Coley brought a major new work to Stirling. His first solo exhibition in Scotland for some time, it was eagerly awaited by audiences and critics alike.
Commissioned by The Changing Room, A Public Announcement used texts, photography, voice and sound to question notions of authority’s power over public space. Within the gallery, eight large and beautiful silk–screened texts conveyed a series of statements. These statements are both real and not real. They have all evolved from the notion of ‘the public announcement’.
Taking inspiration from the historical image of the town crier conveying verbal messages to the illiterate, the literal voice of authority, Nathan alters the power relations of the written and spoken word.
Using a voiceover to narrate the text, he disrupts the connection between the written and the verbal. The voice of the narrator and specially selected sound effects play with the traditional role of the fanfare as an authoritative call to listen. Photographs of everyday landscape scenes bring together the sound and the written word by alluding to the spaces they refer to.
Throughout the duration of the exhibition the artist also placed a public notice resembling those contained in the gallery outdoors at a signage point which he continually changed in order to alter the message being conveyed. These were viewed by a wide selection of the public and were recognisable as notices but also as being out of the ordinary.
Since graduating from Glasgow school of Art in 1989 Nathan Coley has been involved in a diverse number of works including projects at the Tate Gallery in Liverpool and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Oslo. His most recent work Demolition in Progress involved Coley and another artist turning a disused space into a demolition site using paint, signage and lighting.
A Public Announcement, Nathan Coley, 1998