Axisweb Selects: Amelia Crouch

Sheila McGregor

Amelia Crouch’s video work sees outdated manners performed in a picturesque landscape. With an exhibition currently at The Hepworth, Wakefield, she’s our final Axisweb Selects artist.

Artist Amelia Crouch uses print, video and installation to explore the relationship between visual and verbal communication. Her latest video piece, Nor stamp hard on the ground neither, entertainingly revisits the manners of a bygone age, with a group of performers enacting and sometimes disobeying the instructions contained in an 18th century book of etiquette, Adam Petrie’s Rules of Good Deportment or of Good Breeding (1720). The artist choreographs their movements in the setting of a landscape designed by Capability Brown for what was once the site of Whitley Beaumont House in Kirklees.

When researching the historical background, Crouch latched onto the landscape architect’s description of his own creative process as something akin to an act of literary composition: “Now there’ said he, pointing his finger, ‘I make a comma, and there,’ pointing to another spot, ‘where a more decided turn is proper, I make a colon; at another part, where an interruption is desirable to break the view, a parenthesis; now a full stop, and then I begin another subject.” (Capability Brown in conversation with Mrs Hannah More, 1782)

A piece that lays bare the constructed nature of a seemingly natural landscape

This gave Crouch the perfect starting point for a piece that lays bare the constructed nature of Brown’s seemingly natural landscape, whilst simultaneously investigating the social, political and philosophical codes that dictate how human beings interact with their surroundings, and with one another.

“I hope the video is also quite funny,” Crouch says. “The performers in the piece are untrained and they mix male and female people of different ages. One thing I didn’t anticipate is that their awkwardness works quite well. They look a bit stilted and I think this conveys the idea of walking and of social identity being something that is performed.”

Nor stamp hard on the ground neither is on show until 31 May at The Calder, the new contemporary art space adjoining The Hepworth Wakefield, where Crouch’s fellow exhibitors, Giles Bailey and Ruth Lyons, are also showing work inspired by Capability Brown. Entitled The Follies of Youth, the exhibition forms part of a larger project by a pioneering collective of artists, designers, researchers and curators, who are working with visual arts organisation Pavilion to map heritage landscapes in West Yorkshire.

Culture Guides

Cinema

Indian independent cinema, shadowy film noir, cult queer classics and trip under the sea. Film fans are spoilt for choice this month.

Exhibitions in Manchester and across the North

Exhibitions

Like the 58th Venice Biennale which opened earlier this May, our latest pick of exhibitions across the north also has a strong ecological bent.

RNCM Young Explorers event. DJ Switch is shown by turntables in front of an orchestra. Included in family things to do guide.

Families

Avoid the post summer holiday blues with our latest top picks of family things to do. Enjoy some quality family time together this autumn.

Artist Dan Berry and writer David Gaffney.

Literature

The books are back in September with one-off reading events, some much-anticipated launches and the return of the Northern Lights Writers’ Conference as we gear up for Manchester Literature Festival in October.

Music

Manchester’s Autumn months are always chock-a-block with great gigs, and this year is no exception.

Theatre in Manchester

Theatre

The English National Ballet, Emma Rice’s Wise Children, Liverpool’s LEAP Dance Festival and much more feature in our new theatre guide.

Food and Drink in Manchester and the North

Discover the best food and drink that the North has to offer in our expert guide to food and drink in Manchester and beyond.

Tours and Activities

Tours and Activities

Explore the mindful tours and activities Manchester has to offer in this month’s Tours and Activities guide.

Things to do right now

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Cinema 15–18 September 2019, from £5.50

MIF19: Sunset Boulevard at HOME

Visual Arts 20 September 2018–19 September 2019, FREE

Manchester Art Gallery Highlights Tour

Red Dust Road at HOME
Literature 11–21 September 2019, from £10.00

Red Dust Road at HOME

A Taste of Honey at The Lowry
Theatre 13–21 September 2019, from £12.50

A Taste of Honey at The Lowry

Cinema 13–22 September 2019, from £9

The Shock of the Future at HOME

MIF19 David Lynch at HOME Manchester International Festival
Cinema 6 July–29 September 2019, FREE

MIF19: David Lynch at HOME

Exhibitions 6 April–29 September 2019, Quarry Bank admission prices apply (free for National Trust members)

Rights of the Child at Quarry Bank