Material Remains at Holden Gallery

Sara Jaspan, Exhibitions Editor
Lara Almarcegui, Guide to the wastelands of the Lea Valley, 12 empty spaces await the London Olympics, 2009. Courtesy the artist and mor charpentier

Material Remains at The Holden Gallery, Manchester 23 October — 15 December 2017 Entrance is free

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 23 October — 15 December 2017 Entrance is free

Where to go near Material Remains at Holden Gallery

Manchester School of Art

The Manchester School of Art, of which the Holden Gallery is a part, is a beautiful neo-Gothic building that’s part of MMU’s All Saints campus.

Manchester Metropolitan University Brooks building, Birley Campus in Manchester
Event venue
MMU Birley Campus

Birley is Manchester Met’s world-class centre for Education and Health Professionals and the university’s flagship community campus.

The Salutation pub in Manchester
Bar or Pub
The Salutation

This traditional boozer, surrounded by imposing flats and university buildings, was taken over by Trof (of the Deaf Institute fame). The Sally, as the regulars call it, hosts an energetic, arty crowd – and its recently expanded outside area is another good reason to visit.

MMU Student Union

Manchester Metropolitan University Students’ Union building houses a bar and various other facilities for students and staff.

Catalog Bookshop

Find Peter and his Christiania cargo bike around All Saints Park, a hop, skip and a bunnyhop from Manchester Poetry Library.

exterior of Contact Theatre building
Contact Theatre

Following a major redevelopment, the iconic venue on Oxford Road will be reopening its doors to welcome the public back into the building this autumn. 

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