Monday, 6 July 2009
I've just returned from a fantastic weekend of art and adventures in Manchester. First up was a visit to Manchester Art Gallery to check out Zaha Hadid’s installation for Manchester International Festival created in response to the solo works of Johann Sebastian Bach. Walking through this unique and highly intimate chamber music space is like being in the clean white interior of a giant nautilus shell: I just wish I'd had the chance to hear the acoustics. I would have loved to catch one of the free lunchtime concerts being performed by students from RNCM and Chetham’s Music School, which will be held daily for the duration of the festival, to experience the installation in full.
Next stop was Manchester’s Peace Gardens to take a look at Gustav Metzger’s Flailing Trees, another Manchester International Festival commission. This new piece of public art comprises 21 inverted willow trees, which the artist intends to represent “ a subversion of the natural order that brings nature and the environment into sharp focus.”
Then on to Deansgate, for the highlight of the day: Jeremy Deller’s fabulous Procession: a spectacular celebration of Manchester, its history, its culture, its communities and its people. I'll be writing more about this one soon, but for now, all I can say is - what a perfect way to end my very happy three and a half years in Manchester.
Finally I finished the day with a visit to Will Alsop’s CHIPS building, where Contemporary Art Manchester were holding the opening of their inaugral project, Trade City. Held in association with the International Festival, this exhibition brings together work selected by a number of the member organisations of CAM, a new not-for-profit visual arts consortium of independent galleries, artist-run projects and curatorial agencies. Loosely centred around notions of trade, exchange, and alternative economies, the work on display included pieces by artists including Antifreeze, Rob Bailey, Andrea Booker, Andrew Bracey and Cherry Tenneson amongst many more.
I only wish I had the opportunity to stay around and see more of the International Festival highlights. I’d love to be going along to the opening of Procession: An Exhibition at Cornerhouse on Wednesday, not to mention checking out Marina Abramović at the Whitworth, Carlos Acosta with the BBC Philharmonic and It Felt Like A Kiss. But for me, it's goodbye for now to Manchester, and time to do some exploring in London Town...
[Photo © Tim Sinclair via Manchester International Festival]