Material Remains at The Holden Gallery, Manchester, 23 October–15 December 2017, free entry - Visit now
While site-specific artwork is far from unusual, what about site-specific exhibitions? Of course, it is common for curators to focus specifically on the histories, narratives or legacies of a place; and any show will be affected by the space it is presented in. But perhaps fewer exhibitions are formed purely as a response to the physical circumstances of their immediate environment in any moment in time.
Yet the concept behind Material Remains could be seen to attempt something along these lines. With Holden Gallery’s exterior soon to be enclosed in a shroud of construction hoardings, and as work begins on a new building in the space next door, the exhibition takes its initial idea from the processes of change occurring around it. Beyond the familiar banality of making and building, the six artists’ work featured in the show explores the transformation of objects and sites; the materials left behind or those utilised for other purposes.
Material Remains sets out to offer visitors an alternative perspective on the world; one that sits outside of a consumerist framework that privileges objects only in their ‘finished’, marketable state, designed to fulfil a specified purpose. Though each artist’s approach is very different in terms of medium and subject matter, a collective embrace of the unfinished or the outmoded shines through. Set against a real-time soundtrack of digging, drilling, filling and hammering heard from outside, Material Remains should provide a surprisingly grounding encounter with a building in the throes of flux.
Material Remains at The Holden Gallery, Manchester