Art

Arab spring. Subversion at Cornerhouse

Kate Feld
Posted

A new art exhibition at Cornerhouse asks you to re-think your view of the Middle East

Cornerhouse’s new exhibition must have been in the works for some time, but you have to wonder at its prescience. With Middle East in the midst of a remarkable period of upheaval and change, an exhibition featuring work by a group of artists interrogating their Arab identity seems so timely it’s a bit uncanny.

The 11 artists in this group show, curated by Omar Kholeif, work in a wide range of artforms, from film to photography to computer games. The latter is Wafaa Bilal’s Virtual Jihadi, which you can actually play in a battered Arabic internet café (or its crumbling simalcrum, ingeniously installed in the gallery by scenic designer Kev Thornton).

In something of a coup for Cornerhouse, Palestinian photographer Larissa Sansour will show early images from Nation Station, the artist’s new series which so offended Lacoste’s sensibilities that it controversially withdrew its sponsorship of the Elysée Prize. Other highlights include Tarzan and Arab, artist-filmmaker twin brothers showing movie poster pastiche series Gazawood and short film Colourful Journey, and Akram Zaatari’s How I Love You, a candid exploration of sexuality among gay men in Lebanon.

We all try to stay informed, but news reports can only tell you so much about a place. Anyone interested in the true state of the Middle East should check out these dispatches from art’s own correspondents. What you find here in Manchester may just surprise you.

Subversion, until 5 June, Cornerhouse. Free. Words: Kate Feld. Images (top to bottom): Larissa Sansour, A Space Exodus (2009) 2, courtesy the artist; Khaled Hafez, On Presidents and Superheroes (2009), courtesy the artist; Akram Zaatari, Red Chewing Gum (2000); Larissa Sansour Palestinauts installtion at Jack the Pelican Presents, New York (2010), courtesy the artist. 

Culture Guides

Families

It’s all about how to make the world a better place at People’s History Museum and SICK! Festival, a ridiculous art race through the forest, swashbuckling historical heroism and imaginative theatrical adventures. Phew.

Benjamin Myers by Julian Germain Dunelm.

Literature

March sees talks and tours, birthdays and anniversaries, writers’ conferences and development days, and some rather big names on the literature scene.

Music

Why not try some new music for the new year? How about a residency (or two) in a former mill, an original take on a film soundtrack, or the cream of Manchester’s current music scene coming together for an action-packed all-dayer?

The Suppliant Women

Theatre

This month we’ve got something very old, a couple of things rather new, something borrowed from the Americans and something dressed in Oldham Athletic blue.

Cinema

This month, we round up some of the disreputable treasures and genuinely ambitious pieces of film art that are screening around Manchester and the North.

Exhibitions

They say a picture is worth a thousand words – so, perhaps, can an object be, as our current selection of the very best exhibitions in Manchester and the North proves.

Destination Guides

Things to do right now

Powered by culturehosts
Theatre 22–23 March 2017, from £10.00

If These Spasms Could Speak at HOME

22–23 March 2017, from £12.00

Berlin: Zvizdal

Cinema 3–23 March 2017, from £5.00

New Release: Certain Women at HOME

Literature 14–25 March 2017, from £10.00

Cyrano

Visual Arts 8–25 March 2017, FREE

French & Mottershead: Afterlife at the Whitworth

Theatre 8–25 March 2017,

SICK! Festival

Cinema 10 February–29 March 2017, from £5.00

New Release: Moonlight at HOME

Exhibitions 4 February–29 March 2017, FREE

John Hyatt: Rock Art at HOME

Cinema 16 February–30 March 2017, from £7.00

Film Season: David Cronenberg