Glasgow International has announced details of its ninth edition, the second of Director Richard Parry. Comprising 54 exhibitions and 82 events, performances and talks at over 50 spaces across the city and showcasing work by 160 artists; the theme of the 2020 festival is Attention: asking us to consider how, where and in whom our attention is placed at a time of seemingly constant distraction. Scotland’s biennial festival of contemporary art further highlights Glasgow as one of the world’s most important and exciting centres for visual art.

Further details of the 2020 programme include:

The first UK showing of Georgina Starr’s large-scale installation Moment Memory Monument (2017), including performances at points throughout the festival

A new film by Alberta Whittle, co-commissioned with Glasgow Sculpture Studios as part of a joint Canal Programme for 2020 in celebration of Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters 2020

The first presentation in Scotland of Gretchen Bender’s landmark work Total Recall (1987), which predicted the ‘image saturation’ of coming decades

Additional information on new works by Martine Syms, Duncan Campbell and Jenkin van Zyl

A ‘festival within a festival’ at SWG3, co-commissioned with the David Roberts Art Foundation (DRAF), will see performances from international artists including Paul Maheke, Lina Lapelytė and Nina Beier

Public performances and film screenings by artists and collectives including Love Unlimited, Urara Tsuchiya and Hamja Ahsan

Diverse new locations used as venues, including the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons, a car garage, a primary school and a city-centre hotel room

Renowned art historian and professor TJ Clark to give a public lecture in the lead up to the festival (5 March) on the theme of attention and attentiveness.

Press and professional accreditation for Glasgow International is now open via the Festival website. Please click here:


Highlights from the Director’s Programme include:

In Kelvin Hall, the American artist Gretchen Bender’s Total Recall (1987) will be presented to Scottish audiences for the first time. Installed in a black box space, the eleven-channel video installation, which predicted the ‘image saturation’ of coming decades, utilises 24 monitors and three projection screens.

In addition to a major new film commission at Tramway, Quarantaine, Georgina Starr presents her large-scale sculptural performance installation Moment Memory Monument (2017) in SWG3’s Galvanizers Yard space. The ambitious work, previously unseen in the UK, explores the inherently speculative truth of memory and biography. Revisiting a scenario from Alain Resnais’ surrealist sci-fi film Je t’aime, je t’aime (1968), the work offers visitors a chance to return to a lost memory.

Yuko Mohri’s new commission for GI2020 will now be housed in the distinctive copper-roofed Pyramid building, a former church in Anderston. The Tokyo-based artist’s installation involves microphones and a Yamaha piano and uses the building’s original features, including the church organ and original chairs, to create a new sculptural and sound work which echoes the work of the pioneering composer John Cage.

The Brazilian sculptor and installation artist Ana Mazzei will create a large-scale, site-specific installation in Kelvin Hall, her first commission for a UK public institution. Occupying several rooms in Kelvin Hall, Mazzei will build a fluid narrative sequence in which sculptural objects form a physical mood or mental state – such as love or revenge – which is distinct to each room.

Also in Kelvin Hall, Duncan Campbell presents an epic new work, cinematic in scale, which marks the culmination of several years of research and planning by the artist and combines film, audio and sculpture. A giant electromagnetic mechanical display, akin to a message board at a railway station or airport, creates highly pixelated moving images alongside a recorded audio monologue. Inspired by the artist’s interest in the novels of Samuel Beckett, the work interrogates the relationship between memory and what appears on the screen.

At Tramway, Martine Syms presents S1:E4, a new episode in Syms’ project SHE MAD (2015-ongoing), in which the artist incorporates elements of the sitcom format and past TV series to explore ‘the sign of blackness in the public imagination’. A giant widescreen projection in Tramway’s largest gallery follows the central character of Martine, an aspiring artist, as she experiences a flashback to the summer of 2000, and her experience of an empowerment programme for teenage girls founded by supermodel and business mogul Tyra Banks.

An immersive sculptural installation by Jenkin van Zyl in Tramway’s T4 Theatre invites viewers into a scenario invoking claustrophobia, sexual ecstasy, hysteria and ‘folk horror’. At the heart of the work is In Vitro, a new film in which characters enact looped rituals of reproduction and self-pollination in an effort to achieve community, individuation and re-enchantment.

On the upstairs balcony of the Kelvingrove Museum, Glasgow-based artist France-Lise McGurn presents a sculptural installation that responds to the painting Reading Aloud (1884) by Albert Moore, which hangs in the museum’s stairwell.

A new film commission at Langside Halls by the Scottish artist Sarah Forrest uses the concept of the detective novel as a starting point to ask questions around seeing, mis-seeing and the rational mind.

Other solo exhibitions in the Director’s Programme include a display of Bodys Isek Kingelez’s ‘extreme maquettes’ at Tramway; new 2D and sculptural works by Nep Sidhu at the Gallery of Modern Art; and a retrospective of painting and drawings by Carol Rhodes at Kelvingrove.

A new film by Alberta Whittle, co-commissioned by Glasgow International and Glasgow Sculpture Studios for a new, jointly produced Canal Programme, which aims to spotlight histories and cultural activity in the area around the Forth and Clyde Canal. The film explores questions of migration and waterways and involves the local Joyous Community Choir, run predominantly for female refugees and asylum seekers in Glasgow. The Canal Programme is supported by EventScotland in celebration of Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters 2020.


Highlights from the Across the City programme include:

The Across the City programme celebrates the diversity, depth and vibrancy of Glasgow’s cultural life. It encompasses exhibitions, film screenings, dynamic public performances and community learning.

Solo exhibitions include: new work by photographer, media artist and researcher Ingrid Pollard at Glasgow Women’s Library, developed in response to its Lesbian Archive and Information Centre, the largest of its kind in the UK.

Inspired by Glasgow’s public wash houses (historically known as ‘Steamies’), the group exhibition You’re never done includes works by Adelita Husni-Bey alongside a group of Glasgow-based artists. The show will transform the disused Springburn Public Library and Museum, addressing gendered divisions of labour and visibility within working class communities.

Glasgow-based curatorial co-operative Chapter Thirteen presents a group exhibition, Who’s Counting?, that champions empathy, love and healing as visceral approaches to political discourse. The exhibition will feature a new film and photographic work by Margaret Salmon that reflects on feminist economic theory, alongside new work exploring the notion of ‘repair’ by Kader Attia, who is showing in Scotland for the first time. Attia will also take part in a talk and film screening over the festival opening weekend.

Glasgow-based artist Andrew Sim brings together mythical creatures, ancient archetypes and pop culture references in Heal the Sick, Raise the Dead. This series of pastel works will address issues around mental health while situating queer histories within occult, alchemical and esoteric religious traditions.

Glasgow-based artist Jacqueline Donachie presents a project with Govan Project Space that engages directly with the city’s architectural heritage, questioning issues of access for all.

Presented by The Common Guild in off-site venues including The Glasgow Room upstairs at The Mitchell Library, Sharon Hayes’ major new project is the culmination of Ricerche, a suite of video works that the artist has been working on since 2013, which investigates public speech and its intersections with history, politics, activism, queer theory, love and sexuality.

The first presentation in Scotland by Nigerian artist Ndidi Dike, whose practice often examines global histories, including the pre- and post-colonial legacies of slavery, forced migration and resource extraction. Hushed considers the historic and ongoing impacts of the colonial cloth trade, paying particular attention to plants that have been used as sources of the blue dye indigo.

In the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons, Annie Crabtree presents a dual screen, moving image work, Tell me, how do I feel?, which challenges the positioning of people as unreliable witnesses of their own bodies.

Group exhibitions include: Don’t Let The Bastards Grind You Down, starring Liv Fontaine, Paul Kindersley and Huhtamaki Wab, which explores the surreal, the political and the outrageous within the artist’s own lives and wider society.

Songs for Work brings together moving image, sound, performance, poetry and installation by three Glasgow-based artists – Aideen Doran, Beth Dynowski and Susannah Stark – to examine the effects of work on subjectivity, community, and wider social, political and ethical imaginaries.

The Outside is Inside Everything We Make, a group exhibition featuring new sculpture and works on paper by Laura Aldridge, Leanne Ross and Judith Scott, explores power and empowerment beyond that of established structures of experience. The title of the exhibition – a found text from product packaging – acknowledges the profound influence that daily interactions with people and materials have on us.

Events and Performances

Glasgow International have partnered with David Roberts Art Foundation (DRAF) to present a series of performances for the opening night. Each artist will develop different registers of attention throughout the evening, whether through the flickering presence of dancers, plays on folk, pop and opera, or the vulnerability of a changing world. Drawing on the festival’s history of fostering the development of live work, the event will encompass the broad spectrum of performance art in 2020 in the form of folk, pop or operatic pieces. Alongside those co-programmed with DRAF, there will be a series of performances organised by Glasgow-based Civic Room, featuring the work of artists who have either studied, or live, in Glasgow.

A partnership with the Hunterian Art Gallery and University of Glasgow sees a public lecture on attention and attentiveness given by renowned art historian and author TJ Clark. For further details and to book visit the news section of the GI website.

At the Rattle Library, a programme of films featuring shy heroes and neurodiverse icons brings to life Hamja Ahsan’s 2017 book Shy Radicals: The Antisystemic Politics of the Militant Introvert.

For one night only, a roller-shutter garage behind Glasgow’s Mitchell Library hosts Garage Vivant – a series of performances at the intersection between theatre and visual art in which Minty Donald, Neil McGuire and Nick Millar have invited other artists to respond to the concept of the tableau vivant.

Stepping Out, curated by Love Unlimited, brings together the work of eight artists and shines a spotlight on Glasgow’s diverse queer performance scene, offering insight into the thought, care and labour that underpins queer performance.

For Give us a Meow, Urara Tsuchiya has created the interior of an imaginary hotel room within a real Glasgow hotel – The Brunswick – producing new site-specific ceramic and textile works for the installation. The location will host a programme of performances by invited artists including Méabh Breathnach, Jack Brennan, Paul Kindersley, Susannah Stark, Mimei Thompson and Ben Toms.

Adam Christensen, SAGG Napoli, Jeanne Tullen and Nora Turato present Too Much: a live platform that stresses a separation between gender performativity and the regularisation of the theatre’s proscenium.

Bordered Miles, a day-long group walk from Glasgow city centre to Dungavel House Immigration Removal Centre conceived by Iranian-born, Glasgow-based artist Iman Tajik, takes place alongside an accompanying exhibition of documentation and talks at Civic House.

For a full list of projects in the Across the City Programme please visit:

Richard Parry, Director of Glasgow International Festival said: “The theme for GI2020 is Attention, offering a chance for visitors to see what artists from Glasgow and across the world are turning their – and our – attention to right now. The festival offers us an unparalleled opportunity to take ourselves away from the seemingly constant distractions of screen and smartphone and instead to place our attention on what is happening in one of the most dynamic and energetic art scenes in the world.”

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “Glasgow is a city where artists are not afraid to take risks, and where audiences are hungry for new and critically ambitious work.

“Glasgow International provides a unique platform to showcase the city and the best of its visual art and artists for the world. In 2020 the Scottish Government is providing £100,000 in EXPO funding to support projects initiated by freelance artists, curators and producers based in the city.”

Councillor David McDonald, Deputy Leader of Glasgow City Council and Chair of Glasgow Life, said: “Glasgow International is always keenly anticipated and a key component of the city’s vibrant cultural ecology, directly contributing to the future health, prosperity and sustainability of our city and its people. As a celebration of Scottish contemporary art it is unique in the way it takes people to venues they know to appreciate new work being made across Glasgow and into new or usually inaccessible spaces for exhibitions.”

Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s Director of Events, said: “Glasgow is one of the UK’s leading cities for contemporary art, with the Glasgow International festival significantly contributing to this reputation by providing the perfect stage for local and international artists. The release of further details of this year’s programme, including the new film by Alberta Whittle in the Canal Programme which celebrates Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters 2020, shows this reputation is well founded.

“Events and festivals play a key role in our visitor economy and EventScotland is delighted to be continuing its support of Glasgow International in 2020.”

Amanda Catto, Head of Visual Arts, Creative Scotland said: “Creative Scotland is delighted to be a supporter of the GI Festival and is excited to see the details of the 2020 programme. Rooted in the city’s rich and supportive visual arts scene, the Festival is a highlight of the international, cultural calendar. Its unique format brings together commissions and exhibitions by artists living locally and internationally, in both large-scale and familiar public venues as well as across many smaller and less conventional sites.

“The tremendous depth, ambition and diversity of the programme will draw national and international visitors to the city while building audiences and engagement at a really local level. Congratulations to the GI team, its partners and all the artists involved.”