The Modern Institute presents “Sawney Bean”, the first major solo exhibition in the UK of New York based artist Adam McEwen. McEwen presents a new body of work positioned around personal and mythical histories, paying homage to specific objects and occurrences, which have been selected for their accessibility. The title of the exhibition refers to a folkloric Scottish character called Sawney Bean. It was alleged that Bean was a member of a cannibalistic clan who lived in a cave a few miles from the village of Ballantrae, which lies in close proximity to McEwen childhood home. After killing and eating more than a thousand passing travelers in the late 1500s, the Bean family was finally caught and executed at the turn of the century.
McEwen creates a series of works relating to the Sawney Bean legend by deftly weaving historical, subjective and artistic elements together. An image of a cave on the Ayrshire coast, which was claimed to be the lair of the Bean clan, is one of the exhibition’s centrepieces. He has also made an actual stone wall from 1970s Tennents lager cans, which is placed across the entrance of the gallery space. Other interesting works forming the exhibition are a graphite representation of a wooden coffin carrier, and an interior of a sitting room.
“Sawney Bean” runs at The Modern Institute until 22 June.
The Modern Institute, 14 – 20 Osborne Street, Glasgow G1 5QN
All images courtesy of the gallery.