Aquatopia at CFCCA

Part of our Exhibitions guide

Sara Jaspan, Exhibitions Editor
陈秋林 Chen Qiulin 空的城 The Empty City 数码艺术微喷印刷. Part of Aquatopia at Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art (CFCCA), Manchester
Courtesy of CFCCA

Aquatopia at Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art, Manchester, 6 July–7 October 2018, free entry - Visit now

However privileged we may acknowledge this position to be; access to clean, fresh water is rarely given second thought in the UK (minus during the odd hose pipe ban of a particularly arid summer). Yet its scarcity – brought about by pollution, climate change, over-population, intensive farming and so on – is a growing problem that affects every continent of this planet, and at least 2.8 billion people each year. In fact, it poses a very real existential threat to the future of life on Earth, already triggering palpable signs of geo-political strain.

In response, Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art is preparing to launch Aquatopia – a group exhibition featuring six artists from China, Hong Kong and the UK, which explores contemporary art as a possible ‘alternative platform’ for addressing the pressing reality and potential future implications of this crisis from a global perspective. The work hovers in the intersection between fantasy and critical observation; perhaps a useful place from which to begin a wider discussion around the real-life implications behind the many worrying reports, facts and figures already in the public domain.

The focus of Aquatopia will also extend beyond current environmental concerns, however, to offer a broader meditation on water itself. A natural element that covers 70% of our planet, forms a major component of every living organism, and an age-old pan-cultural symbol of purity and life; how often do we actually stop to appreciate its significance?

Drawing together a diverse range of participatory, installation and new-media based works from leading younger generation artists through to internationally renowned, this exhibition promises a to provide a thought-provoking look at one of the biggest issues facing our current age.

Aquatopia forms the first chapter of ‘A Season for Change’ – CFCCA’s ambitious new six-month programme of exhibitions and debates designed to encourage discussion around environmental issues facing today’s world.

Aquatopia at Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art, Manchester

6 July–7 October 2018
Free entry