Laura Gonzalez


I gladly strained my eyes to follow you

I gladly strained my eyes to follow you is a 45min guided tour of Pollok House looking at a selection of female portraits in the Houses’ collection. The piece is conceived by artist Shauna McMullan. The content of the tour is made up of texts written specially for the work by invited writers, artists, academics and Pollok House staff. Contributors to the work: Sam Ainsley / Elaine Ang / Christine Borland / Jenny Brownrigg / Karen Cornfield / Kate Davis / Fiona Dean / Laura Edbrook / Moyna Flannigan / Laura Gonzalez / Victoria Horne / Kirsty Leonard / Jennie Macleod / Shauna McMullan / Adele Patrick / Sian Reynolds / Stephanie Smith / Sarah Tripp / Clara Ursitti.

It was shown as part of the exhibition Cabinet Interventions at Pollok House, during the Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art, from 20 April to Mon 7 May 2018.

Cabinet Interventions was a collaboration between ten artists and the National Trust for Scotland at Pollok House. In post-Brexit Scotland, how might often-contested identities and histories be articulated through artist practice in institutions such as the Trust? Between 2017 and 2018, artists undertook research and developed new work in response to the particular nature of Pollok House and its surroundings: an Edwardian country home managed by The National Trust for Scotland, with a significant international collection of art and artefacts, on the edge of Glasgow.

In 2017, and in groups of three, the participating artists undertook one-month residencies at Pollok House. Following each residency, the artists hosted an event to share practice, exchange knowledge and open up critical dialogues about the themes and questions that arose during their residency. This involved Pollok House staff, volunteers, invited artists, academics and researchers, as well as the wider public. These residencies are followed by an exhibition in spring 2018, produced as part of Glasgow International, that draws upon that research and dialogue to present original sound, installation, text and performance within and around the House.

This project was devised and led by artists Shauna McMullan, Susan Brind and Joanna Peace, who received funding from the Royal Society of Edinburgh for the residency phase of the project. These three artists, in their capacity as Lecturers in the Department of Sculpture & Environmental Art at the Glasgow School of Art, had already been working with Pollok House for two years, developing on-site exhibitions with final year and postgraduate students. As a consequence of this initial research, these artists wanted to assemble a community of engaged makers around the site, who could work together in a critical and supportive way.

For my text, I worked with the portrait of Marie Theresa of Austria, normally displayed on the stairwell of Pollok House. During the show, there were renovation works being undertaken in the Pollok House which meant the removal and storage of several of the artworks. Marie Theresa was one of those paintings and so the tour spoke about her in her absence.

Beaubrun, Charles; Maria Theresa of Spain (1638-1683); Glasgow Museums;

Here is the press release: CabinetInterventionsatPollokHouse_2018_PressRelease

Here is the full booklet of texts: Booklet I gladly strained my eyes to follow you

You can read a review of the show on map magazine here.

Here is a practitioner report on the piece by Shauna McMullan for the Scottish journal of Performance.

Here are some images of the tour:

About Me

I am an artist and writer. My recent practice performance, film, dance, photography and text, and my work has been performed, exhibited and published in many venues in Europe and the US. I have spoken at numerous conferences and events, including the Museum for the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, the Medical Museum in Copenhagen, College Arts Association and the Association for the Psychoanalysis of Culture and Society. When I am not following Freud, Lacan and Marx’s footsteps with my camera or creating performance works as part of my Athenaeum Research Fellowship at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, I teach postgraduate students at Transart Institute.

I am currently immersed in an interdisciplinary project exploring knowledge and the body of the hysteric. In 2013, together with Child and Adolescent Mental Health practitioner Frances Davies, I co-edited the book ‘Madness, Women and the Power of Art’, to which I contributed a work authored with Eleanor Bowen. My book ‘Make Me Yours: How Art Seduces’ was published by Cambridge Scholars in 2016. In this text, investigates psychoanalytic approaches to making and understanding objects of seduction, including an examination of parallels between artistic and analytic practices, a study of Manolo Blahnik’s shoes as objects of desire, a disturbing encounter with Marcel Duchamp’s last work, and the creation of a psychoanalytically inspired Discourse of the Artefact, a framework enabling the circulation of questions and answers through a relational approach to artworks.