Early Warning Signs

Dundee Contemporary Arts

Dundee Contemporary Arts

152 Nethergate

The green on black sign was adopted by Clive Gillman, Director of Dundee Contemporary Arts to be displayed outside their building on Nethergate for the whole of 2012. At the end of the year, it was transported by train by Graham Domke to City Arts Centre in Edinburgh, where it formed part of the Travelling Gallery's exhibitions programme for the whole of 2013.

End of Year Report

By Graham Domke, Exhibitions Curator, Dundee Contemporary Arts

Dundee Contemporary Arts were pleased to present Ellie Harrison's Early Warnings Signs throughout 2012 outside of the venue on one of the main streets of the city of Dundee. The work will have been seen by thousands of people including students of the nearby University and the Art College where the artist now teaches in a part-time capacity.

The kinetic aspect of the work and the bright text gave it a quite high visibility. But to avoid being tripped over or stolen the work was placed chained to railings and placed just off the drag of people. There is a question if everyone travelling up or down the street would have seen it and whether the high volume of people walking past it would have considered it to be an artwork.The work was not signposted as an artwork but copies of the user manual were provided to the DCA front of house staff and were also available for visitors to take away.

Being a cross art-form organisation, staff and visitors are not necessarily specialists or even advocates of contemporary visual arts. We asked all staff of DCA if they would like to comment upon the work and we only received a few responses:

• A nice idea to realise an artwork from something that is so familiar an object.

• I did see this sign - did not realise it was an artwork but that is likely my ignorance. It was situated pretty near the church and so I assumed it was something they had displayed. If I am honest I did not think about from an artistic perspective just that it was a statement that about a topic that interests me. I am sorry I did not pay closer attention.

• I am afraid I thought the work to be too clichéd and the form too simplistic for the subject. I have looked at other things by the artist and thought they were better.

• Thought it was quite clever to take a familiar piece of street furniture and make an artistic, or better still, an environmental statement with it.

• Didn't actually realise it was an artwork. Quite like realising after it has gone that it was art.

• Had also seen the signs at other art spaces in Glasgow. Liked the idea of art on the pavement outside galleries. Also liked the initiative of a recent graduate to enable them to 'show with' quite big galleries.

DCA sent documentation to the artist as requested during the run of the project.

Work was delivered to Edinburgh for the Travelling Gallery to present the work throughout 2013.

There were no instances of vandalism against the sign during the period it was shown in Dundee.