Through her research process in laboratories, scientific and medical institutions, Christine Borland has often rendered visible people, subject matter and practices which are usually inaccessible to a general public. Her works foreground historical and contemporary scientific research and methods, while freeing their metaphorical associations by introducing the imaginary, the aesthetic and poetic.
Her most recent on-going work since 2011 is a collaborative project, ‘Circles of Focus’, with artist Brody Condon. By developing cross-disciplinary relationships and sharing their evolving research they have interrogated societal, artistic and ethical attitudes to death and the preservation of the body, exploring the potential of body donation for artistic as well as scientific research.
In addition to her sculptural practice and interdisciplinary research, Christine Borland has a longstanding connection to the performative act of weaving, reflecting her family background in the textile and lace-making industries which thrived during the 20th century in her hometown of Darvel, Ayrshire.
From the age of 10, David Livingstone (born 1813) worked as a cotton spinner in Blantyre Mill, Lanarkshire; he went on to become a pioneering medical missionary and an explorer in Africa. Borland took a studio photograph by Thomas Annan of David Livingstone (reading to his youngest daughter Anna) as the starting point for a series of experimental screenprints on to blankets woven in a textile mill (Morton, Young & Borland) in Ayrshire. She then travelled to Livingstone in Zambia, visiting and taking photographs in Kariba Textiles Ltd. This mill manufactures a variety of blankets, including emergency relief blankets, from recycled rags imported from their parent company in India and originating largely from the West. The artist returned to Highland Print Studio in September 2014 to develop a new series of four screen and digital prints.
Christine Borland (born Darvel, Ayrshire, 1965) lives and works in Argyll and Bute. A graduate of Glasgow School of Art and the University of Ulster in Belfast, she is currently BALTIC Professor at the University of Northumbria, Newcastle. The artist’s work has been shown internationally in numerous museums and galleries and in 2013 she presented (in collaboration Brody Condon) a newly commissioned work, ‘Daughters of Decayed Tradesmen’ for the Edinburgh Art Festival.