The Gardener Digs in Another Time – Online at the Whitworth

Sara Jaspan, Exhibitions Editor
Oberon, 1969-1976, Peter Blake. Copyright © Peter Blake & The Whitworth, The University of Manchester

1 May 2020 — 1 May 2021 Entrance is free — Visit now

Among many things, these last few months have been an acute reminder of how much we get from being outside. From seeing green, from breathing cleaner air, from being in proximity to plants, animals and insects. It has highlighted how fortunate those with their own garden or access to green space are, while there’s now even more of a trend for growing plants indoors. In fact, the gardening sector is currently struggling to keep up with unprecedented demand for compost and online plant sales have rocketed.

Launching on the same week of the Chelsea Flower Show, the Whitworth in Manchester invites you to step into the garden as subject – one that has inspired artists across time – with an online version of its 2016 exhibition, The Gardener Digs in Another Time. From another time itself, the show was originally organised to help celebrate and support the opening of the Whitworth’s Art Garden (which is dotted with outdoor sculpture and remains open to visitors whilst the gallery is closed). But its core theme remains timeless: examining the use of the garden in visual culture as a vehicle for utopian thought and an emblem for an ideal society. A place of hope.

From the garden’s place within late 19th-century socialism to the way many contemporary artists are turning to it as a conceptual space to express political ideologies in opposition of capitalist pursuits, this digital collection of artwork allows us to reflect even further on the significance and possibilities of outdoor space.

1 May 2020 — 1 May 2021 Entrance is free Visit now

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