John Stezaker at the Whitworth

Sara Jaspan, Exhibitions Editor
Mask (Film Portrait Collage) CLXXXIX, 2016. © John Stezaker. Courtesy The Approach, London. Photo: FXP photography

John Stezaker at The Whitworth, Manchester 1 December 2017 — 1 June 2018 Entrance is free

What is a photograph? Though the photographic image has become a ubiquitous part of everyday life, its exact status or nature can be hard to define. Is it an image or an object? Document of truth or slice of subjectivity? Does it belong to the present or past? Acclaimed conceptual artist John Stezaker uses vintage photographs, old film stills, postcards and book illustrations as ‘readymades’; combining and destabilising their original content to address some of these questions, and comment upon the photograph’s role as cultural artefact.

An exhibition of his work opening at the Whitworth presents two important collage series and a number of other pieces by Stezaker, in which we see these complex issues come alive in wry and poignant clarity. In Untitled (Film Portrait Collages), we find the faces of B-movie actors spliced together in an uncanny play on the art historical conventions of portraiture, and the fluid boundaries of gender and identity. While in Masks, disconcerting juxtapositions of glamorous sitters overlaid with scenic postcards featuring waterfalls, bridges and seascapes highlight Stezaker’s interest in Surrealism.

Stezaker’s work had a major impact on the use of collage in contemporary art and this new presentation at the Whitworth should provide a fascinating insight into the slippery nature of our relationship with photography and human identity.

John Stezaker at The Whitworth, Manchester 1 December 2017 — 1 June 2018 Entrance is free

What's on at The Whitworth

OUTDOOR ART CLUB AT THE WHITWORTH
Until
ChildrensManchester
Outdoor Art Club at The Whitworth

Enjoy fun and creative activities designed to encourage your little ones to play freely in the fresh air, while exploring nature and the outdoors with family and friends.

free entry

Where to go near John Stezaker at the Whitworth

Manchester
Bar or Pub
Big Hands

Big Hands is the one-time haunt of legendary Manchester band Elbow; it’s shabby, loud and dark, with a jukebox and excellent roof terrace.

The Giving Tree
Manchester
Restaurant
The Giving Tree

The Giving Tree is a cafe and community hub based in Rusholme, a short walk from the city centre.

Pankhurst Centre
Manchester
Museum
The Pankhurst Centre

The Pankhurst Centre houses a small museum and heritage centre that remains as a legacy to the Pankhurst family and the Suffragette movement born in this city.

Manchester
Music venue
Manchester Academy 3

Brilliant venue for catching a touring band on the rise. The boringly titled Academy 3 or more interesting Hop and Grape, as it was once known, is a self contained…

Manchester Academy music venue on Oxford Road Manchester.
Manchester
Music venue
Manchester Academy

The Manchester Academy is a mid size, modern warehouse venue adjacent to the University of Manchester Students’ Union. It lacks any architectural merit and has always been a difficult place…

Cafe at the Museum
Manchester
Café or Coffee Shop
The Cafe
at the Museum

Manchester Museum’s cafe is run by the people behind award-winning cafe Teacup Kitchen. The menu features home-baked cakes, the finest loose leaf teas and breakfast, as well as a wide selection of mains and meals for kids.

Whitworth Park, Manchester
Manchester
Park
Whitworth Park

This 18-acre park opposite the Manchester Royal Infirmary provides a welcome patch of green in an otherwise densely populated and heavily used part of the city.

What's on: Exhibitions

Culture Guides

Festival-goers at Green Island
Music in Manchester and the North

Gazing longingly towards the good times that will accompany the surely imminent sun, we take a look at the best music festivals coming up in Manchester and Salford.