True Faith – The Joy of Joy Division & New Order at MAG

True Faith – Manchester Art Gallery – Until 3rd Sept

Joy Division and New Order

There is no doubt in my mind, that this will be one of Manchester Art Gallery’s (MAG) most visited exhibitions. With its mix of artwork, video, album covers and installation pieces, including mannequins and the soundtrack of Manchester from the 70’s with Joy Division until todays, still going New Order, there is something for art lovers, music lovers, and fans of the bands alike.

Dark Angel (for Ian Curtis after Chris Foss (2002) Glenn Brown Courtesy Scharpff Family Collection – Image Brian Wild

On entering the dark space of the exhibition you’re confronted by the  large black oil on velvet “Ornamental Despair”  by Julian Schnabel (1980). to the right you find strange fluorescent tree structures with the frames of benches and rubbish bins from Martin Boyce’s 2002 “Our Love is Like the Flowers, the Rain, the Sea and the Hours” a line from the track “The Village”  New Orders 1983 album.

Joy Division
Silk Screen Lithographs for New Order gigs in Belgium and Paris 2011 (Peter Saville and Paul Barnes) – Image Brian Wild


Joy Division – Art Inspiration

Curated by Matthew Higgs, Director of White Columns, New York and author and film-maker Jon Savage with archivist Johan Kugelberg, True Faith covers four decades’ of contemporary works from artists including Julian Schnabel, Jeremy Deller, Liam Gillick, Mark Leckey, Glenn Brown and Slater Bradley, all of which were inspired by the groups.

Joy Division
True Faith Exhibition Manchester Art Gallery – Image Brian wild

There are album cover designs from Peter Saville, music videos, which are very hand held camera, grainy and atmospheric, fashion, with some great Parkas created by Belgian fashion designer Raf Simons, in conjunction with Peter Saville, and posters from John Baldessari, Barbara Kruger, Lawrence Weiner, Jonathan Demme, Robert Longo, Raf Simons and Kathryn Bigelow. There are also some original hand written lyrics.(which visitors are asked not to photograph)

Joy Division formed in Salford in 1976 with guitarist and keyboardist Bernard Sumner, bass player Peter Hook, singer Ian Curtis and drummer Stephen Morris. following Curtis’ death in 1980 the remaining members, now joined by Gillian Gilbert, formed New Order, becoming one of the most influential bands of the decade.

Joy Division
James Pyman Drawing 1996 – Heart with names Ian, Bernard, Peter, Steve – Image Brian Wild

All in all a fantastic exhibition which, although commissioned as part of MIF17, stands out, in my opinion, as one of Manchester Art Gallery’s best ever!  Go See!!