Graham Ramsay

Job Title:

Reader in Contemporary Art Practice


Master of Fine Art


Good Teeth
at Glasgow Sculpture Studios

Good Teeth


Graham Ramsay

Graham Ramsay has taught on the MFA Programme since 2006. As an artist he has worked collaboratively with John Beagles since 1997. Two key interweaving currents of interest drive the work of Beagles and Ramsay. Firstly the reoccurring use of a kind of fictionalised self-portraiture and secondly, in broad terms, a humourous examination of aspects of contemporary consumer culture. Since 1996 they have explored these themes in a series of sculptures, installations, video, performance and drawings, which have been exhibited nationally and internationally.

Their presence within the work has always been a performed presence; using doppelgangers has been a means of speaking in alternate voices or drawing upon multiple personae. Producing and inhabiting these shifting personae, has allowed them the conceptual space to explore aspects of contemporary culture – such as consumerism, political disenfranchisement, and the cult of celebrity - without the restrictions of a singular, authoritative voice. In the ‘Glitter Desert Island’ series (Tramway, Glasgow 2005, and MOT International, London 2007) they assumed the pose and gaze of the rarefied dandy, reclining on a gold glitter desert island complete with fake palm trees, while ‘We Are The People – Suck On This’ (ICA, London 2000) featured a restaged, downbeat version of Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver. Their 2003 solo show, ‘Dead of Night’ at Gasworks Gallery, London featured an ambitious theatrical installation containing a pair of hand crafted ventriloquist dummy doppelgangers.

This work is also informed by research into earlier, pre-modernist traditions within art, specifically the counter tradition of the carnivalesque. The artists within this tradition were adept at synthesising their visual aesthetic with political allegories and satirical content. The influence of this tradition is perhaps most clearly seen in the ongoing series of drawings ‘Unrealised Dreams’ which were first shown in the Scottish Pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2003. This ever-expanding collection of proposals, plans and absurd schemes are presented as authentic Leonardo style sketchbook drawings.

One of the original ‘Unrealised Dreams’ proposals was developed into ‘Sanguis Gratia Artis’, a key work that represented a step away from figurative self-representation. Commissioned by the Henry Moore Foundation and Grizedale Arts for ‘Romantic Detachment’ at PS1, New York ‘Sanguis Gratia Artis’ featured a black pudding self-portrait using Beagles and Ramsay’s blood as the key ingredient. One of their more recent solo exhibitions, ‘Good Teeth’ (Glasgow Sculpture Studios, 2009), further developed this move away from explicit self-portraiture, featuring instead a surrogate presence in the gallery; an 8 x 5 metre glittering gold, priapic robot.

Recently their work has been included in the national survey exhibitions ‘Generation. 25 Years Of Contemporary Art In Scotland’ (2014) and ‘The Scottish Endarkenment. Art and Unreason 1945 to the Present’ (2016). A significant body of their past work has just been bought for the National Galleries of Scotland Collection and will be exhibited in the near future.

Beagles and Ramsay also edit the journal ‘Uncle Chop Chop’, which has featured contributions from numerous artist and writers over the past decade.