Ellie Harrison makes complex, provocative and politically-engaged work for gallery exhibitions and beyond. For Counterpoint she expands on her interest in exploring the role of the artist as commentator on current affairs (as well as agent for social change) by presenting After the Revolution, Who Will Clean Up the Mess? – a new artwork completely contingent on the result of the Referendum on Scottish Independence on 18 September 2014.
For the first 48 days of the exhibition, the artwork will lie dormant in Talbot Rice’s ornate Georgian Gallery. Primed and ready to go off, four huge confetti cannons (like those used for ceremonies in sports arenas) will be installed, connected to a central detonation unit labelled YES. Then, on the eve of the historic vote, members of the public will be invited to congregate in the gallery for an all-night Referendum Results Party to witness the artwork’s fate. If there is a NO vote, it will remain inactive for the entire duration of the exhibition. But, if the people of Scotland vote YES, the cannons will be activated immediately with a massive explosion shooting confetti everywhere. The resulting debris will be left in the gallery for the final 30 days of the exhibition, wherever it happens to land – on the floor, walls, ceilings or other artworks. The artwork’s title is derived from a quote in Mierle Laderman Ukeles’s Maintenance Art Manifesto (1969) "The sourball of every revolution: after the revolution, who's going to pick up the garbage on Monday morning?"
Commissioned by Edinburgh Art Festival 2014.
Supported through the Scottish Government’s Edinburgh Festivals Expo Fund