glasgow

View of “Richard Hughes,” 2012.

Richard Hughes

Tramway

View of “Richard Hughes,” 2012.

Over two walls of the expansive gallery housing Richard Hughes’s largest exhibition to date, “Where It All Happened Once,” a network of rusting pipes spelled out the word NOWHERE. Titled Sleeping Rust, 2012, this piece suggested a regional hinterland—forgotten and neglected—as the context for the other works in the show (several new, with others made over the past six years). But then again, it could be read as “now here” as easily as “nowhere,” this shifting meaning a subtle reminder that the exhibition might resist an easy or singular interpretation.

Beneath this mysterious sign, the gallery was transformed into a stagelike set, in which the viewer became a player in Hughes’s narrative, among an array of burned and soggy objects—broken lampposts, a worn-out sleeping bag, corrugated cardboard. Yet all of these items possess subtle and comic attributes, visible only

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