Here's a few thoughts on some Manchester exhibitions I've seen recently:-
The Whitworth Art Gallery has always been a favourite gallery to go to, I also helped curate an exhibition there in 2007 for a University project- with a baffling over-the-top title 'The Uncertainty of Identity: The Biographies of Things'. So when they were closed for over a year for a £15million facelift I missed it. But while they haven't done much to the already existing galleries except add more windows onto the park, the new galleries and facilities look and feel fresh, light and innovative. It's just a shame it doesn't flow very well into the old part which looks dated, dark and dismal in comparison.
The opening exhibitions are really worth seeing, I've already seen Cornelia Parker's 'Cold Dark Matter: An Exploded View' before a few times at Tate Modern but I was really moved by her 'War Room' made from thousands of the empty sheets of perforated poppies that are made for remembrance day. My favourite was Cai Guo Qiang's huge gunpowder drawing and the accompanying video of him making it and his explosion happenings, a-m-a-z-i-n-g, it's fireworks as paintings, as installation in the air, watch some of them here.
There was an Easter Island exhibit on at the Manchester Museum where I walked straight past the monument on loan from the British Museum (which isn't much really than a lump of rock) and into the exhibition. I learned quite a lot, I didn't know they were tons and tons of them mostly congregated on the coastline and still in the quarry, or that University of Manchester has been part of some of the excavations over there. But they didn't use the space well, keeping everything close to the walls and not having the very statue from there in the exhibit but out in the noisy entrance high above you, not easily seen and not good.
Ceramics, Furniture, Lacquer, Porcelain, there were so many beautiful Eastern objects in this exhibition at Manchester Art Gallery (shame about the wall colour).
Collaged digital photos of old works, this Valette work of Manchester was the best showing the differences in time. The Hiroshige copies were a bit soulless, I just wanted to see the original woodcuts not her lifeless virtual created interpretations of them.
Next I'm off to London for a few days to see Richard Diebenkorn, Sheila Hicks, Eric Ravilious and Marlene Dumas