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Lunchtime & Celine, 2022

Kate Morgan

As though here to hand one of us a takeaway, in his Deliveroo workwear Teddy Coste locks his bike and enters the gallery. Pierrot-like, a kind of 1950s-crooner gleam in his eyes, he begins to speak. He describes what feel like pristine moments of cycling-cum-philosophy: ways the cyclic has interrupted his life, and his desire to live against ‘the vertical’. He quit his Deliveroo job today, and will quit Glasgow within weeks of this performance. So, it’s a swan song to his time here as both artist and gigworker. The Junction has three parts: a monologue inside Lunchtime Gallery, a karaoke performance on the street, and a finale where Coste changes outfit, opting to become a painter.

Coste is sincere, enthused. ‘Staying at the same place would mean routine. Which is some kind of repetition. I don’t like repetition. It sounds like labour.’ I bumped into him in the park a few days before The Junction, out rehearsing his lines. Crafting a performance requires repetition; in the same way gig work is borne of it. And repetitive labour forms a pattern, a groove. The work asks: how to form a meaningful practice despite such grooves, or from them?

The following afternoon, at Celine for Gregor Horne’s exhibition New Work Scotland, I see a connection to Coste. Different formations of labour, often seemingly binary, unfold in concert to consider the varying agencies that a body might have in relation to objects. Three groups of photos form a series: The Boring Side (2022). There are three of a potato chipper, its pressing arm engaged and disengaged. Four of a tenement window from outside, its shutters going from open to closed. And, between these, a single image of an e-bike. All these items are close to the body, its activity and expense. Horne describes how such e-bikes ‘enable riders to work for longer without tiring’, and are often bought on credit and then paid off by delivering takeaways. They bring the rider into a loop of debt, much as, across the room, three empty portfolios (all Untitled, 2022) signify a similar loop within art education. Flat to the wall, they hold both the hopeful naivety of going to art school, and a downswing: slid under beds, left at a parent’s house, sold on for lack of use.

Paid-work and art-work being largely nonsimultaneous for ‘emerging’ artists, most operate precariously on freelance and gig work. Horne and Coste both ask: how possible is it to be an artist here in Glasgow? How to make critical work while operating within and against the foibles of exposure, aspiration and failure?

The New Work Scotland Programme (2000-2012), referenced in Horne’s title, supported the ‘accelerated development’ of recent graduates. Borne of a capital relationship to artists, this kind of loaded framing produces the place we’re in now: where some artists are supported, opportunity breeding opportunity, and it’s all very often arbitrary. Friends give friends shows, define tighter loops: the ‘scene’ seems smaller than it is. Horne’s exhibition title, then, is wry: at once critiquing and self-canonising.

We follow Coste out to The Junction, where three roads meet. We gather plain-clothed, around him, in his Deliveroo-issued uniform. He discards his rucksack and jacket, turquoise, iridescent, changing into the selfdescribed uniform of the artist. We all begin to look more similar.

At work on Sunday, washing the basket of the fat fryer, scrubbing at eachfamiliar void of its grid, I remember one of Coste’s lines: ‘Before you know it, you’ve been looped against your will.’

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