Art in Manchester – this weeks new contemporary art exhibitions

After a brief but very enjoyable holiday BeesBlogs is back in the thick of it with lots of new exhibitions announced for February. BeesBlogs Art in Manchester has a brief blog to let readers know what is happening this week on Manchester’s contemporary art scene. There will be more news about new art exhibitions which are starting late next week , so more to follow as soon as I can get all the info together.

Chinternet Ugly – Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art – PV 7th Feb 6pm

Feb 8th – 12th May

Art in Manchester
Ye Funa, Exhibitionist, image courtesy of the artist

Manchester’s Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art (CFCCA) launch a major new group exhibition ‘Chinternet Ugly’ which navigates the chaotic vitality of China’s online realm.

The exhibition will feature works by six leading new media artists and includes a new commission by Miao Ying.

Art in Manchester
Miao Ying, Love’s Labour’s Lost (2019)

China is home to 802 million Internet users, 431 million micro-bloggers, 788 million Internet mobile phone users, and four of the top ten Internet companies in the world. This vast user base combined with a handful of online platforms and e-commerce giants including WeChat, Tencent and Alibaba results in cultural currents that flow at a blinding pace – spreading and evolving far more rapidly than on the ‘global’ web and creating a distinct internet culture – the ‘Chinternet’. ‘Chinternet Ugly’ highlights the significant role that visual imagery plays within China’s online sphere as a site for cultural and political negotiation, critique and play. It traces the unruly topography of China’s online realm, its technicolour landscape of viral media, gyrating GIFs, satirical memes, mass infotainment, and copy and paste aesthetics.

Art in Manchester
Lu Yang, Electromagnetic Brainology, screenshot courtesy of the artist

Focusing on a younger generation of artists – the first to have grown up with mass digital technology – ‘Chinternet Ugly’ invites the viewer to explore the complex and contradictory nature of China’s hyper-regulated digital sphere from the perspective of some of its most dynamic and engaging artists. This in turn holds up a mirror to our own internet habits.

Art in Manchester
Ye Funa, Beauty Plus Save the Real World, 2018, image courtesy of the artist

‘Chinternet Ugly’ celebrates lo-fi aesthetics and pays tribute to the humanity found between the cracks in a digital world of smooth transitions, polished selfies, blemish correcting software and autocorrect. The exhibition features a new co-commission by Miao Ying and installations by five other leading new media artists: aaajiao; Lin Ke; Liu Xin; Lu Yang and Ye Funa.

‘Chinternet Ugly’is curated by CFCCA in partnership with Dr Ros Holmes, Departmental Lecturer in Chinese Art at the University of Oxford. Love’s Labour’s Lost by Miao Ying is co-commissioned with University of Salford Art Collection.


Simeon Barclay: Life Room – Holden Gallery

8th February – 29th March 2019 Preview: Thursday 7th February 2019, 5:30 – 7:30pm

Art in Manchester
Si meon Barclay, Royal Flush, 2017

The Holden Gallery are presenting Simeon Barclay’s first solo exhibition in Manchester. Barclay – whose work operates at the intersection of contemporary art, fashion, music and popular culture – will present a survey of existing work alongside new work which will include a response to the historic collections at Manchester School of Art.

Art in Manchester
Simeon Barclay, What a charming name for a dog, 2014

Barclay’s work draws on an ongoing interest in how we develop our sense of self, how culture and tradition, as well as personal experience, shape our identities. In his youth, Barclay became fascinated with Vogue magazine, its glamour and theatricality, providing aspirational imagery in stark contrast with the everyday reality of life in small-town West Yorkshire. Furthermore, Barclay’s background in manufacturing – having worked at a factory for 16 years – feeds into his practice, informing his glossy aesthetic and use of industrial fabricating techniques. Through these seemingly disparate and contradictory influences, Barclay encourages the breaking of rigid societal boundaries and challenges expectations of identity, gender, race, class and heritage.