Alan Johnston: Haus Wittgenstein/ Inverleith House
Alan Johnston: Haus Wittgenstein/ Inverleith House
12 August - 30 September 1995
In 1994, Alan Johnston exhibited at the house which Ludwig Wittgenstein designed and built for his sister Marguerite in Vienna in 1927. On that occasion Johnston created works informed by the proportions and style of the building. This exhibition drew a parallel between the Haus Wittgenstein and Inverleith House, and again, was a direct response to the building and its context - which Johnston knows well as a native of the city. Writing about Johnston's exhibition in Vienna, the critic and writer Joseph Masheck observed "Johnston's ‘works' did not overly exploit the setting ... while his paintings, as austere as the building in style, held their own self sufficiently, like distinct propositions, by virtue of their sympathetic display in its principal rooms, the remarkable building was coaxed into view". In fact Alan Johnston has referred to Inverleith House as "That vault of simple clarity ... a viewing platform overlooking the city".
The exhibition consisted of pencil drawings - on stone, plaster, wood and linen prepared with titanium and zinc white. Their geometry and meticulous execution was arrived at intuitively, in a direct response to the spaces of the building itself. They reminded us of the observation of forms - at every level, and naturally referred to the practical starting point for scientific enquiry, namely the act of observation itself.
The exhibition also reflected Johnston's philosophical enquiry which encompassed not only Wittgenstein but the Eighteenth century philosophers (including David Hume), active at the time Inverleith House was built in 1774. His exploration of the themes of form and space was influenced by frequent visits to the garden in Yamaguchi designed by the Fifteenth century painter Sesshu, and the exhibition at Inverleith House included references to this garden and a reading list providing further sources of information.
Alan Johnston is an internationally regarded artist who has exhibited widely in Japan, New York and Germany since 1974.
"Haus Wittgenstein/Inverleith House" was sponsored by W & JR Watson Ltd, Watson Building Services Ltd, Scottish Natural Stones, Reiach and Hall, Architects,, 1851 The Exhibition Company, Sign Directory and Beck's Beer.
Lectures at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh to coincide with the exhibition were:
Friday 11 August: "me, inner man monophone, Jarry in Joyce" William Anastasi, Artist, talked about influences on the work of James Joyce. Presented in association with the Pier Arts Centre, Orkney.
Saturday 12 August: "Recollections" - A talk by the distinguished American collector, author and historian Charles Carpenter presented to accompany the exhibition "Haus Wittgenstein - Inverleith House" of drawings by Alan Johnston.
All works courtesy of the artist.
- I still believe in miracles
- Raoul De Keyser: Paintings 1967 to 2012
- Nicolas Party: Boys and Pastel
- John Chamberlain
- Autumn Screening: Anne-Marie Copestake & Duncan Marquisswith speakers Isla Leaver-Yap & Francis McKee.
- Alex Dordoy: persistencebeatsresistance
- Corin Sworn
- Isa Genzken: Botanical Garden
- Tony Conrad: Invented Acoustical Tools 1969 - 2014
- Derek Roberts: Northern Paintings
- Ciara Phillips: And More, Nature Printed and Rory McEwen: The Tweed Road
- Mostly West: Franz West & Artist Collaborations
- Dan Colen: The Illusion of Life
- Luke Fowler with Toshiya Tsunoda and John Haynes
- William McKeown (1962 - 2011)
- Philip Guston: Late Paintings
- Andy Hope 1930: When Dinosaurs Become Modernists
- Claude Cahun (1884 - 1954)
- Sue Tompkins
- Thomas Houseago: The Beat of the Show (Indoor Sculpture)
- Robert Rauschenberg: Botanical Vaudeville
- Andrew Kerr - So Ensconced/Maya Deren
- Victoria Morton with films by Anne-Marie Copestake
- Vincent Fecteau and Forests and Gardens of South India: Hugh Cleghorn (1820 - 1895)
- Joan Mitchell
- Marc Camille Chaimowicz
- Hayley Tompkins: Autobuilding
- Cerith Wyn Evans
- John McCracken
- KARLA BLACK: SCULPTURES
- Tony Swain: Impure Passports
- Nick Evans: Primary School
- Louise Bourgeois: Nature Study
- John Hutton Balfour (1808-1884): Nature Study
- Richard Hamilton: Protest Pictures
- Juergen Teller - Awailable
- Lilian Snelling
- Andrew Miller - Sixes and Sevens
- William Eggleston - Portraits 1974
- Smith/Stewart: Enter Love and Enter Death
- Roni Horn - Angie and Emily Dickinson
- Rudolf Stingel
- Rungiah and Govindoo - South Indian Botanical Drawings 1826-1853
- Robert Ryman at Inverleith House
- Douglas Gordon - Superhumanatural
- Mat Collishaw
- Ian Hamilton Finlay - Sentences
- Mark Leckey - Jackin' World
- Keith Farquhar - New Work
- Robert Therrien
- Jim Lambie - Kebabylon
- Andy Warhol - Private Drawings From the 1950s
- Gary Rough - Mantelpiece
- Simon Periton - Mint Poisoner
- Julian Schnabel
- Hellen van Meene - Japan Series
- Ruth Vollmer
- Cathy Wilkes
- The Dapuri Drawings
- Alan Charlton
- Cy Twombly
- Stanley Kubrick - Still Moving Pictures 1945-1950
- Lucy McKenzie and Paulina Olowska - Heavy Duty
- Ulrich Ruckheim
- Franz West - Meeting Points
- Ed Ruscha – The Mountains
- Stella Ross-Craig - Drawings of British Plants
- Kevin Henderson - Zebra
- The British Art Show Five
- John Hutton Balfour's Teaching Diagrams (1845-1879)
- Laura Owens - New Work
- Lawrence Weiner - Time + Place
- Bloomberg New Contemporaries
- David Austen: New Work
- Richard Tuttle: Grey Walls Work
- Paul Keir: New Work &; Susan Derges: The River Taw
- Susan Derges: The River Taw
- Myron Stout
- Melissa Kretschmer: Tsunami (The Caledonian Hall, RBGE)
- Carl Andre: 12 Isohedra
- Angus Hood and Christine Frew
- In Visible Light: Photography and Classification in Art, Science and the Everyday, various artists
- The British Art Show 4, various artists
- Callum Innes
- Cecilia Vicuna: Precario: Words & Thread
- Absolut Blue and White, featuring; Catriona Grant, Gary Rough, David Shrigley
- Chris Drury: Vessel: Sculpture 1990-1995
- Lothar Baumgarten: Conservatory (The Glass Houses, RBGE)
- Raymond Booth: Japonica Magnifica, from the Fine Art Society, London
- Margaret Stones: The Flora of Louisiana (from Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge. USA)
- herman de vries: flora
- Andy Goldsworthy: Hand to Earth - Sculpture 1976-1990 (1990)
- Chris Drury: Shelters and Baskets
- Archive (1)
Browse through our diverse range of formal and informal education programmes for people of all ages and at all levels
RBGE publications include a range of titles with books on botany and botanical taxonomy, gardening and horticulture, art and history, children’s books and Guidebooks for all of our Gardens.
Knowledge Exchange links the research community with others.
Searchable Resource Centres
View our selection of searchable resource centres.
Check our latest news and connect with our experts
Find the ideal venue for your corporate event
Your dream wedding
The perfect setting to host your truly unique wedding.
Find out how you can support our work at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.