That contemporary art is flourishing in Manchester cannot be in doubt when you read the breadth of exhibitions below. From solo exhibitions to collaborations spanning the globe there’s an amazing amount to see and to enjoy!
Elizabeth Kwant – IN TRANSIT | CANADA HOUSE
Exhibition Open: Saturday 15th September 12 – 5pm
Canada House | 3 Chepstow Street | Manchester | M1 5FW
Manchester based artist Elizabeth Kwant’s work investigates contemporary geo-political issues; migration, immigration, displacement and representation. She has produced and participated in a number of socially engaged arts projects with refugees and asylum seekers, in partnership with local organisations. Most recently with the Travelling Heritage Bureau and Digital Womens Archive North (DWAN) at Zellij Arts. This contemporary art exhibition at Canada House brings together key works by Kwant spanning the last four years across the mediums of; moving image, photography and silk-screen printing and features the first complete screening of her recent film series “In Transit”. Filmed in various locations from Morocco to Manchester the performance traces the primary western migration route across the Mediterranean to Europe and is produced in collaboration with British based asylum seekers and refugees at The Boaz Trust Manchester.
Kwant is the Founder and Curator of Zellij Arts, an artist led project highlighting the work of emerging artists from The Middle East, North Africa and diaspora. Kwant lives and works in Manchester, UK.
Paradise Works – Island Life
7 to 16 September 2018
Artists: Lubna Ali, Claudia Alonso, Tara Collette, Elliott Flanagan, Jamal Jameel, Fuchsia Summerfield.
Paradise Works has already, since its inception, become a force for contemporary art in Manchester with real pioneering exhibitions at their Salford base and collaborations which are helping to bring new perspectives to the Manchester contemporary art scene. A great credit to its artist founders Lucy Harvey and Hilary Jack. Their latest exhibition is Island Life which brings together six artists whose work can be said to be culturally, socially or politically engaged. It comes as no surprise in a transitional world where ideas of borders and truths are constantly being challenged, that these artists choose to explore worldviews through their lived experiences and those of others around them.
In this exhibition, the artists reflect and connect the complexities of modern living in this island nation in north western Europe with its neighbours and beyond. The personal endeavours of the artists resonate with wider social concerns, with questions of co-existence, equality, and most of all, a sense of shared humanity.
Ali’s fine art prints use Islamic geometry and minimalism to explore her identity as a British Muslim. As a Madrid born artist, Alonso engages with Brexit using newspaper headlines and images from the 2016 British referendum. Collette’s banners and works on paper highlight the free labour ‘opportunities’ that artists and designers are often offered, instead of payment for their work. Flanagan’s video work continues his study of contemporary masculinity using archival and original footage. Jameel’s large scale photographic prints reveal the individual humans behind the refugees and asylum seekers labels, often sharing their authorship by giving the subjects control of the shutter remote. Summerfield’s sound works incorporates original field recordings to create (dis)connections and altered states of consciousness that deals with addiction.
Anna FC Smith ‘We Fight for the Future of Our Nation’
Wigan STEAM Library St, Wigan, WN11NU
Launch event 1-3pm 15th Sept continues until 29th Sept.
Contemporary art in Wigan: In the early 1900s the famous politician Keir Hardie gave a number of speeches in Wigan including at The Royal Court Theatre on King Street. In one of these speeches he stated to the assembled crowd ‘At election time you are citizens but when you strike you are the mob’. In more recent years The Royal Court Theatre became a nightclub playing Old Skool, Hardcore and Dance Anthems, one of the latest to shut on a Friday and Saturday night.
With this history The Royal Court Theatre became a stage on which Smith plays out concepts of ‘the mob’. The word has had a resurgence in an age of increased populism and political anger but it has many meanings. According to Elias Canetti mobs are a species of crowds and a living, conscious entity. They are portrayed by those outside of the mob as intoxicated, incoherent, and uncivilised. The mob can have different and overlapping moods be it festive, rebellious or baiting. The word can be used to undermine a group with legitimate goals or benign intentions but can also describe a group which poses a real or perceived threat to authority or to the individual.
Smith and members of the public have created Toby jugs, each is an individual character but together they become a mass, potentially an assembly, a party, a crowd, a revelry or a mob. She worked with artist Dustin Lyon to create a new hardcore track using the words of Hardie.
Contemporary art from across the world:
Castlefield Gallery – SUBI 수비
14 September 2018 — 4 November 2018 Curated by Castlefield Gallery (UK) & Barim (Korea)
The Korean word SUBI 수비 has a particular meaning in the context of ceramics, relating to the refining of clay; whether purifying the raw material or the processes needed to rehydrate and filter dried clay so that it can be reused.
Castlefield Gallery, Manchester Art Gallery, and Manchester Craft and Design Centre present SUBI 수비, a programme in three parts located across the city of Manchester. The programme features artists, designers and makers from Korea and the UK working with or inspired by clay, its uses and materiality.
Artists: Sam Buckley (UK), Insook Choi (Korea / UK), Joe Hartley (UK), Eunji Briller Kim (Korea), Eunmi Kim (Korea / UK), John Powell-Jones (UK), Hyun Min Shin (Korea),Gae-Hwa Lim (Korea), Gyung-Kyun Shin (Korea)
At Castlefield Gallery, SUBI 수비 brings together a diverse group of experimental artists, product designers and master makers. All are highly skilled as a result of either formal training, self-teaching, or passing down from one generation to another. They place great value on the transfer of skills, knowledge and ideology through objects and making, and see this form of exchange from one generation to another, and from one culture to another, as integral to creating and communicating the world in which we live. The exhibition will feature traditional ceramics alongside works which explore the materiality of clay with ceramic costumes, film, and sound. Visitors to the gallery will also be invited to add their own handmade clay objects to the exhibition.
SUBI 수비is presented to be timed with Asia Triennial Manchester, 5-21 October 2018.
Land/Lines – HOME
Fri 7 Sep 2018 – Sun 4 Nov 2018
Land/Lines is a solo exhibition by artist David Ogle collating new and recent works that explore his interest in the contours, shifts and movements within the natural landscape. Using light, colour and form as his core tools, Ogle has created works that subtly draw our attention to areas that may not normally be highlighted.
Over a 3-year period (2015-17), Ogle visited numerous outdoor, remote landscapes across the UK, creating work inspired by his surroundings. Allowing the environmental conditions to form, meld and shape the work, he employed materials – including LED light, coloured smoke and glowing spheres – to create subtle interventions and experiential encounters. These artworks were then documented via photography and video to form an extensive body of work entitled Loomings.
For this exhibition, Ogle has also created two new large-scale drawings inspired by this outdoor work. Both drawings are abstract interpretations of the contours within the landscape and realised through collage and drawn line on graph paper. David Ogle’s practice incorporates drawing, sculpture, installation and new media, often working in the ‘grey area’ between different mediums. His work seeks to subtly reveal elements of spaces and landscapes that we may not usually observe.
Lightwave 2018 will be illuminating Salford Quays from 7 -16th December 2018 with innovative displays created specially for audiences to interact with at Lightwaves 2018; showcasing inspiring digital light art and illuminating Salford Quays these 16 FREE light experiences, will span Salford Quays and MediaCityUK.
Two of the major technology art exhibits being commissioned are – Hooded Youth from internationally renowned London-based artist, Stanza, and SPECTRUM from Montreal-based collaborative, HUB. SPECTRUM is a co-commission with Quartier des Spectacles Partnership, and part of an exciting international collaboration between Quays Culture and the team spearheading Montreal’s premiere arts and entertainment district.
Hooded Youth | A towering beautiful hooded sculpture; Hooded Youth visualises visitor data it receives using mini screens and light illumination built into the creation. The tall figure’s hoodie challenges our assumptions about social alienation, captivating its audience and challenging visitors’ perceptions around anti-social behaviour and our collective ability to create safe public spaces for all.
Hooded Youth is presented as a symbol of belonging, rather than something to be feared. Digitally interactive, the artwork embraces public participation and encourages the engagement with its technological system, which feeds in intelligence so that Hooded Youth becomes a symbolic memory bank of place and experience.
Ultrasound sensors respond and illuminate the sculpture, with LEDs’ behaviours changing as it’s approached. Audiences can interact by sending messages to the hooded creation; once the data is processed and ‘read’ it’s portrayed as illuminated news streams, coursing through the wire works with graffiti and poetics.
SPECTRUM | An interactive installation that invites audiences to talk to the artwork to trigger illumination of the chain of large hoops of light. The idea is to encourage people to engage with the installation, to activate lights and sounds that travel from one side of the artwork to the other. Spectrum illuminates how we ourselves communicate, and how we decode data with multiple sensors.
This visualisation of communication will operate from both sides of the installation, making it possible for visitors to exchange dialogue through the artwork. Once words are spoken, the participant will be able to see and hear their travelling messages through light movement and soundscape. The impressive freestanding structure will feature a mini speaker in each of the communication-emitting hoops of light, with a microphone at both ends of the structure to allow interaction. The technology allows for visitors’ sounds of words to travel through a system of delays, and as they flow they trigger light displays that travel at the same speed of these sounds, creating a fascinating illuminated display of the movement of sound.
Alice Kettle – ‘Thread Bearing Witness’ The Whitworth – Now On
Since the last BeesBlogs I attended the preview of Alice Kettles new exhibition at The Whitworth. This is an exhibition which has only been possible with the input of literally, hundreds of refugees and displaced people who have contributed to Alice Kettles’ work. It is obvious from speaking with the artist, that she takes the responsibility of producing the work for this exhibition extremely seriously and that obtaining buy-in from those who contributed their work and ideas has been paramount.
As textile art it is an amazing spectacle. The artist has created work which the photographs can only hint at. Best that you go and see for yourself. You won’t be disappointed!!