Exhibitions in Manchester and the North

Sara Jaspan, Exhibitions Editor

Following the announcement of the full 2019 programme earlier this month, our latest pick of exhibition highlights is somewhat unashamedly skewed towards this year’s incredible Manchester International Festival visual arts offer. Forget Skepta, Mexican-Canadian electronic artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer’s radical investigation into the potentiality of air, Cuban artist and activist Tania Bruguera’s collaboration with migrants from across the city, and Ibrahim Mahama’s evocatively titled Parliament of Ghosts, look likely to be among the most memorable commissions.

Marking the 200-year-anniversary of the Peterloo Massacre, which took place in St Peter’s Square in 1819, People’s History Museum launches a major new exhibition dedicated to commemorating the watershed moment in British democracy and its ongoing legacy in relation to contemporary citizen activism. Meanwhile, Abbot Hall Art Gallery in Cumbria prepares to celebrate another important bicentenary: the birth of John Ruskin. Spanning five galleries, the display will pivot around the great Victorian art critic and watercolourist’s admiration for the work of J. M. W. Turner and their shared fascination with skies – a motif through which Ruskin was able to explore his ongoing struggles with mental health and issue an early warning around climate change.

Organised in collaboration between Castlefield Gallery, Manchester School of Architecture (MSA) and independent curator Tom Emery, UnDoing reflects upon the often-conflicted relationship between the past and present in architecture. We’re especially looking forward to a series of models of ‘lost buildings’, including the hut built by Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein in Norway, where he lived as a hermit whilst writing his most celebrated philosophical treatise.

Lastly, remembering the past also forms the central theme of a second exhibition at Abbot Hall – Refuge: The Art of Belonging. Featuring a remarkable collection of works by artists that fled Nazi Germany and sought refuge in Britain, in the current climate of rising anti-Semitism, the show acts as a prescient reminder to learn from rather than repeat the lessons of history.

Here are our picks

  • 1. MIF19: Tania Bruguera: School of Integration at Manchester Art Gallery

    MIF19 tania Bruguera School of Integration at Manchester Art Gallery Manchester International Festival
    Photo: from 100 hours of reading Hannah Arendt’s ‘The Origins of Totalitarianism’ courtesy of Estudio Bruguera and the Hannah Arendt International Institute for Artivism

    School of Integration at Manchester Art Gallery at Manchester Art Gallery, Chinatown, 5–20 July 2019, free entry - Find Out More

    As part of MIF 2019, acclaimed Cuban artist and activist Tania Bruguera will collaborate with local Manchester residents originally from other countries to challenge dominant societal expectations around cultural integration.

  • 2. MIF19: Atmospheric Memory at Science and Industry Museum

    MIF19 Atmospheric Memory at Science and Industry Museum Manchester International Festival 2019
    Photo: Miguel Legault/Antimodular

    Atmospheric Memory at Science and Industry Museum at Science and Industry Museum, Castlefield, 6–21 July 2019, from £1 - Book now

    Could the air that surrounds us be used to access the voices of the past? For MIF 2019, Mexican-Canadian electronic artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer sets out to investigate a captivating theory posited by the great 19th century English polymath Charles Babbage

  • 3. MIF19: Ibrahim Mahama at the Whitworth

    Ibrahim Mahama Photo © White Cube George Darrell. Courtesy of Manchester International Festival
    © White Cube George Darrell

    Parliament of Ghosts at The Whitworth, Manchester, 5–21 July 2019, free entry - Find Out More

    Ibrahim Mahama presents an assemblage of lost objects that reflect upon the history of his home country’s long struggle for independence.

  • 4. Disrupt? Peterloo and Protest at People’s History Museum

    Disrupt? Peterloo and Protest at People's History Museum
    Peterloo Massacre 1819, commemorative glass © People's History Museum

    Disrupt? Peterloo and Protest at People’s History Museum, City Centre, 23 March 2019–23 March 2020, free entry - Visit now

    Marking the 200-year-anniversary of the Peterloo Massacre, ‘Disrupt? Peterloo and Protest’ at People’s History Museum takes visitors on a journey through the past, present and future of protest in this country.

  • 5. UnDoing at Castlefield Gallery

    UnDoing at Castlefield Gallery, Manchester – Creative Tourist
    Sarah Westphal

    UnDoing at Castlefield Gallery, Castlefield, 22 March–26 May 2019, free entry - Visit now

    UnDoing at Castlefield Gallery explores our often conflicted relationship between past and present in architecture.

  • 6. Ruskin, Turner and The Storm Cloud at Abbot Hall Art Gallery

    Ruskin, Turner and The Storm Cloud at Abbot Hall Art Gallery in Cumbria
    John Ruskin, View from my Window at Mornex, 1862 © Lakeland Arts

    Ruskin, Turner and The Storm Cloud at Abbot Hall, Cumbria, 12 July–5 October 2019, free entry - Find Out More

    This summer, Abbot Hall Art Gallery in Cumbria marks the 200-year-anniversary of the great Victorian art critic and watercolourist, John Ruskin’s birth, with an exhibition dedicated to the turbulent skies above.

  • 7. Hannah Farrell: Afterlifes at Caustic Coastal

    AFTERLIFES | Hannah Farrell at Caustic Coastal
    Hannah Farrell

    AFTERLIFES | Hannah Farrell, 27 March–27 April 2019, free entry - Find Out More

  • 8. Refuge: The Art of Belonging at Abbot Hall Art Gallery

    Refuge: The Art of Belonging at Abbot Hall Art Gallery in Cumbria
    Martin Bloch, Scorched Trees, 1943 © Martin Bloch Trust.

    Refuge: The Art of Belonging at Abbot Hall, Cumbria, 15 February–29 June 2019, free entry - Visit now

    Refuge: The Art of Belonging at Abbot Hall in Cumbria serves as a vital reminder of the significance behind the common proverb: ‘Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it’.

  • 9. Ericka Beckman and Marianna Simnett at FACT

    Ericka Beckman and Marianna Simnett at FACT, Liverpool
    Left image (c) Marianna Simnett, Jerwood/FVU Awards. Right image (c) Ericka Beckman

    Ericka Beckman and Marianna Simnett at FACT, City Centre, 29 March–16 June 2019, free entry - Find Out More

    A duo-exhibition of work by the eminent American filmmaker Ericka Beckman and rising London-based video artist Marianna Simnett marks a strong start to FACT’s year-long season focusing on identity, representation and gender.

  • 10. Barby Asante: Declaration of Independence at Baltic, Gateshead

    Barby Asante: Declaration of Independence at BALTIC, Newcastle
    The Queen and the Black Eyed Squint. Photo Edgar Arceneaux

    Barby Asante: Declaration of Independence at Baltic, 23 February–5 May 2019, free entry - Visit now

    Responding to the impact of the legacies of slavery and colonialism upon the present, ‘Declaration of Independence’ at Baltic in Gateshead will exist as a performative forum designed to help us rethink our understanding of monumental moments in world history.

  • 11. EDIT.04 Live Creations: Joe Moran / Dance Art Foundation at The Lowry

    Untitled (panel work) detail - courtesy Joe Moran. The Lowry
    Untitled (panel work) detail. Image courtesy of the artist

    EDIT.04 Live Creations: Joe Moran / Dance Art Foundation at The Lowry, Manchester, 23 March–14 April 2019, free entry - Visit now

    For EDIT.04, British-Irish choreographer Joe Moran prepares to transform The Lowry’s gallery space into a ‘live exhibition’ combining performance, film and spray paint drawing.

  • 12. William Stott of Oldham: Great Painters are Rare at Gallery Oldham

    'William Stott of Oldham: Great Painters are Rare' Exhibition at Gallery Oldham
    Tate

    'William Stott of Oldham: Great Painters are Rare' Exhibition at Gallery Oldham, Manchester, 26 January–11 May 2019, free entry - Visit now

    Exactly 120 years after his death, the work of the world-renowned William Stott of Oldham returns to his hometown as part of an exhibition dedicated to his legacy.

  • 13. Developing History at the Hardmans’ House

    Capturing Chambré Hardman – Developing History at the Hardmans' House, Liverpool
    National Trust

    Capturing Chambré Hardman at The Hardmans’ House, Liverpool, 13 March–26 October 2019, free entry - Visit now

    As one of Liverpool’s lesser known gems prepares to reopen its doors for 2019, we look forward to encountering a rare series of photographs only recently discovered by chance in the cluttered darkroom of the Hardmans’ former, perfectly-preserved home.

  • 14. The Cooper Gallery’s Space Odyssey 2019

    Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2018 exhibition at The Cooper Gallery, Barnsley
    © Jingyi Zhang

    The Cooper Gallery’s Space Odyssey 2019 at The Cooper Gallery, Barnsley, Barnsley, 26 January–27 April 2019, free entry - Visit now

    Coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the first lunar landing, The Cooper Gallery in Barnsley presents an exhibition celebrating some of the most beautiful and spectacular visions of the cosmos taken by astrophotographers around the world.

  • 15. Kimsooja: To Breathe at Yorkshire Sculpture Park

    Kimsooja: To Breathe at Yorkshire Sculpture Park
    To Breathe: Bottari, 2013, mixed media installation with The Weaving Factory, 2004–2013, the artist’s voice performance sound, 5.1 channel, 9:14, loop. Photo Jaeho Chong.

    Kimsooja: To Breathe at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, 30 March–29 September 2019, free entry - Find Out More

    Following on from Chiharu Shiota’s monumental web installation, South Korean artist Kimsooja prepares to fill Yorkshire Sculpture Park’s 18th century chapel with iridescent light. Prepare to step into a deeply meditative space, underpinned by eastern notions of the Void.

  • 16. Sixteen – around Manchester

    Craig Easton (Maizi, Runcorn). Sixteen photography exhibition, Manchester

    at HOME Manchester, Manchester, 15 February–15 April 2019, free entry - Visit now

    Presented at venues across Manchester, Sixteen is a nationwide photographic project that gives voice to the next generation of young people across Great Britain, who will live in a politically reshaped country divorced from the European Union.

  • 17. Kannan Arunasalam: The Tent at The Tetley

    Kannan Arunasalam: The Tent at The Tetley
    Kannan Arunasalam, Union leader, Bala Tampoe addressing a strike, 2010. Courtesy the artist

    Kannan Arunasalam: The Tent at The Tetley, 16 February–2 June 2019, free entry - Visit now

    Kannan Arunasalam: The Tent at The Tetley explores the lasting impact of the civil war that raged in Sri Lanka for over 25 years, claiming the lives of an estimated 80,000-100,000 people and leading to the forced disappearance of more than 20,000 ethnic Tamils.

  • 18. Simeon Barclay: Life Room at The Holden Gallery

    Simeon Barclay: Life Room
    Simeon Barclay, Royal Flush, 2017. Courtesy the artist

    Simeon Barclay: Life Room at The Holden Gallery, Manchester, 8 February–29 March 2019, free entry - Visit now

    The Holden Gallery presents Simeon Barclay: Life Room, featuring new work by an artist from Huddersfield who discovered glamour, theatricality and a sense of aspiration between the pages of ‘Vogue’, and a love for industrial fabricating techniques during 16 years spent on the factory floor.

  • 19. The Blanket by David Murphy at The Piece Hall

    Red detail for The Blanket by David Murphy at The Piece Hall
    David Murphy

    The Blanket by David Murphy at The Piece Hall, 25 January–7 April 2019, free entry - Visit now

    The Piece Hall in Halifax prepares to unveil ‘The Blanket’ – a new large-scale outdoor artwork by British sculptor David Murphy – which will occupy the centre of the former textile hall’s sweeping Georgian courtyard.

  • 20. Li Yuan Chia: Unique Photographs at the Whitworth

    Li Yuan Chia: His Late Photographs at Whitworth Art Gallery
    Image: Li Yuan Chia, Untitled, c1993. Courtesy the estate of Li Yuan Chia.

    Li Yuan Chia: Unique Photographs at The Whitworth, Manchester, 18 May–15 December 2019, free entry - Find Out More

    The Whitworth presents a quiet, yet arrestingly beautiful series of hand-coloured photographs taken by China’s first conceptual artist, Li Yuan Chia, nearing the end of his life.

  • 21. Sol Calero at Tate Liverpool

    Sol Calero at Tate Liverpool
    Sol Calero, Interiores 2017 Installation view, Dortmunder Kunstverein. Courtesy of the artist. Photo by Simon Vogel

    Sol Calero at Tate Liverpool, Waterfront, 14 June–10 November 2019, free entry - Find Out More

    Tate Liverpool presents a new commission by Venezuelan-born, Berlin-based artist Sol Calero, whose brightly coloured, large-scale immersive installations offer a sharply satirical critique of the surreal set of stereotypes and clichés attached to different cultures.

  • 22. Charles Rennie Mackintosh: making the Glasgow Style at Walker Art Gallery

    Charles Rennie Mackintosh: making the Glasgow Style at Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool
    Poster designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, 1896 @CSG CIC Glasgow Museums

    Charles Rennie Mackintosh: making the Glasgow Style at Walker Art Gallery, City Centre, 15 March–26 August 2019, from £2 - Book now

    Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool prepares to present its blockbuster exhibition of 2019, dedicated to the life and work of the Glaswegian artist, architect and designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh – father of the UK’s part in the international Art Nouveau movement.

  • 23. Liverpool Biennial Northern England Tour

    Holly Hendry, Cenotaph, 2018. Liverpool Biennial Touring Programme 2019

    , 18 January 2019–3 May 2020, free entry

    Whether Liverpool Biennial 2018 passed you by or you diligently ticked-off every last one of its multiple offerings (if so; bravo), the Liverpool Biennial Northern England Tour seems unlikely to disappoint.

  • 24. Chinternet Ugly at Centre for ChineseContemporary Art

    Chinternet Ugly at Chinese Centre for Contemporary Art
    Lu Yang, image courtesy of the artist

    Chinternet Ugly at Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art, Manchester, 8 February–12 May 2019, free entry - Visit now

    CFCCA presents ‘Chinternet Ugly’ – a group exhibition that offers a rare glimpse behind the biggest digital boundary in the world: the Great Firewall of China.

  • 25. The Art Schools of North West England at Bluecoat

    John Beck and Matthew Cornford: The Art Schools of North West England at Bluecoat
    Matthew Cornford

    The Art Schools of North West England at Bluecoat, City Centre, 17 November 2018–31 March 2019, free entry - Visit now

    There were over 150 art schools in England in the mid-1960s; now most of them are closed or absorbed into other institutions. Bluecoat’s new exhibition, ‘The Art Schools of North West England’, asks: What did it mean to have an art school in every town and what can we learn by discovering their fate?

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