Exhibitions in Manchester and the North

Sara Jaspan, Exhibitions Editor

Though we were very sad to see Chiharu Shiota’s monumental web-installation at Yorkshire Sculpture Park draw to a close at the end of last year, the blow has been softened by anticipation of what South Korean artist Kimsooja will do with the historic chapel. Going by her renowned use of iridescent light and mesmerising sound, visitors can expect to step into a deeply meditative space of communal contemplation informed by eastern notions of the Void.

From the serene calm of Kimsooja’s work to the turmoil of adolescence, a nationwide project documenting the lives, aspirations, hopes and dreams of 16-year-olds today will launch in Manchester this February; giving voice to a generation of young people entering adulthood on the eve of Britain’s divorce from Europe.

Turmoil is given new meaning in Kannan Arunasalam’s The Tent at The Tetley which reflects on the experiences of mothers and wives in Sri Lanka campaigning for an investigation into the enforced disappearance of their relatives – just some of the tens of thousands of ethnic Tamils who ‘went missing’ during the country’s 25-year-long civil war a decade ago.

Simeon Barclay: Life Room at The Holden Gallery features new work by an artist from West Yorkshire who escaped the reality of life in his small town through the glamour, theatricality and aspiration he discovered between the pages of Vogue. Barclay entered the contemporary art world after 16 years spent working in manufacturing on the factory floor, and has since exhibited around the world, with a solo show at Tate Britain in 2017.

Lastly, David Bethell’s exhibition Fleeting Flights at HOME continues the theme of escape, centring around one man’s attempt to break free from his own self-induced purgatory by building a wooden balloon. Could the sense of ambition, futility, folly and hope speak to the present age?

Here are our picks

  • 1. 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.

  • 2. 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.

  • 3. 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.

  • 4. 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.

  • 5. David Bethell: Fleeting Flights at HOME

    David Bethell: Fleeting Flights at HOME, Manchester
    Glen Stoker

    David Bethell: Fleeting Flights at HOME Manchester, Manchester, 26 January–17 March 2019, free entry - Visit now

    Combining ambition and futility, folly and hope; will British artist David Bethell’s wooden balloon speak to our current age? The artist’s wonderfully enigmatic exhibition Fleeting Flights at HOME looks set to mark an exciting new point in his career.

  • 6. 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.

  • 7. 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.

  • 8. 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.

  • 9. 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.

  • 10. 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.

  • 11. 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.

  • 12. Fernand Léger: New Times, New Pleasures at Tate Liverpool

    Fernand Léger: New Times, New Pleasures at Tate Liverpool
    Fernand Léger, The Acrobat and his Partner 1948. © ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2018

    Fernand Léger: New Times, New Pleasures at Tate Liverpool, Waterfront, 23 November 2018–17 March 2019, from £10.50 - Book now

    Tate Liverpool presents the first major UK exhibition in 30 years of renowned modern artist Fernand Léger’s work, exploring how the iconic French painter, sculptor and filmmaker redefined the value of art to 20th century society.

  • 13. Magdalene Odundo: The Journey of Things at The Hepworth Wakefield

    Magdalene Odundo: The Journey of Things at The Hepworth Wakefield
    Magdalene Odundo, Untitled, 1989. Courtesy the artist, Anthony Slayter-Ralph. Photograph Bill Dewey.

    Magdalene Odundo: The Journey of Things at The Hepworth Wakefield, 16 February–2 June 2019, free entry - Visit now

    Following the huge success of ‘Disobedient Bodies: JW Anderson Curates’ in 2016, world-renowned ceramicist Magdalene Odundo prepares to present her own entirely distinct perspective on world art history in her new exhibition, ‘The Journey of Things’ at The Hepworth Wakefield.

  • 14. 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 2018–10 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?

  • 15. Salford Makers SHOP

    Salford Makers SHOP, Chapel Street
    Sally Gilford

    Salford Makers SHOP, 311 - 313 Chapel Street, Salford, Manchester, M3 5JY - Visit now

    Support your local independent creatives! This November, a currently dormant sales office on Chapel Street in Salford is being transformed into a pop-up shop where you will be able to meet artists and makers, buy their products and get involved in making.

  • 16. Art Galleries in Manchester & Salford

    The Whitworth. Photo: Alan Williams.

    Away from the buzz of London, Manchester and Salford arguably have one of the highest concentrations of fantastic art galleries in England. Check out our updated guide.

  • 17. Lowry & The Pre-Raphaelites at The Lowry

    Lowry & The Pre-Raphaelites at The Lowry
    Dante Gabriel Rossetti The Bower Meadow 1850-72 © Manchester Art Gallery/Bridgeman Images

    Lowry & The Pre-Raphaelites at The Lowry, Manchester, 10 November 2018–24 February 2019, free entry - Visit now

    Lowry & The Pre-Raphaelites at The Lowry in Salford provides an unexpected insight into the artistic imagination of one of the UK’s most popular artists.

  • 18. Leo Fitzmaurice: Between You and Me and Everything Else at Walker Art Gallery

    Leo Fitzmaurice: Between You and Me and Everything Else
    Supplicant 101 2008 Milena Dragicevic. c. the artist courtesy Galerie Martin Janda Vienna

    Leo Fitzmaurice: Between You and Me and Everything Else at Walker Art Gallery, City Centre, 29 September 2018–17 March 2019, free entry - Visit now

    Curated by Newport-born artist Leo Fitzmaurice, ‘Between You and Me Everything Else’ at Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool is an invitation to approach the age-old genre of portraiture through fresh, curious eyes.

  • 19. Stability and Survival at Speke Hall

    National Trust

    Stability and Survival at Speke Hall, Liverpool, 26 September 2018–29 March 2019, free entry - Visit now

    This autumn, learn about the inspiring life of Miss Adelaide Watt – an independent and powerful Victorian woman who fought the forces of modernity to preserve Speke Hall and all its treasures for generations to come.

  • 20. Site Gallery

    Site Gallery, Sheffield

    Site Gallery, 1 Brown Street, Sheffield, Yorkshire, S1 2BS - Visit now

    After a three-year long £1.7 million expansion and redevelopment project, Sheffield’s leading international contemporary art space reopens this Autumn – and everyone’s very excited to see what the new Site Gallery holds in store.

  • 21. Serena Korda: The Bell Tree at Speke Hall

    Serena Korda: The Bell Tree at Speke Hall
    Photo by Chris Egon Searle

    Serena Korda: The Bell Tree at Speke Hall, Liverpool, 8 September 2018–28 July 2019, free entry - Visit now

    The Bell Tree by award winning contemporary artist Serena Korda responds to England’s alternative history of fairy-tale folklore, the ancient forest at Speke Hall and the legacy of hidden rebellion that surrounds the historic Tudor home.

  • 22. William Kentridge: Thick Time at the Whitworth

    William Kentridge: Thick Time at the Whitworth
    William Kentridge, in collaboration with Philip Miller, Catherine Meyburgh and Peter Gibson. The Refusal of Time, 2012. Film Still. 5-channel video projection, colour, sound, megaphones, breathing machines. 30 minutes. Courtesy William Kentridge, Marian Goodman Gallery, Goodman Gallery and Lia Rumma Gallery

    William Kentridge: Thick Time at The Whitworth, Manchester, 21 September 2018–3 March 2019, free entry - Visit now

    Thick Time by South African artist William Kentridge at the Whitworth should prove to be both fascinating and mind-boggling in equal measure.

  • 23. The Hardmans’ House

    The Hardmans' House, Liverpool

    The Hardmans’ House, 59 Rodney Street, Liverpool, Merseyside, L1 9EX - Visit now

    We revisit one of Liverpool’s best kept secrets.

  • 24. Salford Royal Academy Takeover

    Poppy, Esme, Oleanna, Gracie and Kate, 2014. Personal Feeling is the main thing - Chantal Joffe at The Lowry, Salford

    Salford Royal Academy Takeover at Salford Museum and Art Gallery, Manchester, 19 May 2018–24 February 2019, free entry - Visit now

    To mark its 250th birthday, the Royal Academy of Arts in London has launched a nationwide programme of exhibitions, displays, tours, talks and one-off events. Here we take a look at what’s going on in Salford – home of RA LS Lowry and now a growing independent art scene.

  • 25. Lest We Forget? at Imperial War Museum North

    War Horse at the New London Theatre. Photo by Brinkhoff Mögenburg. Courtesy of IWM North. Lest We Forget
    War Horse at the New London Theatre. Photo by Brinkhoff Mögenburg. Courtesy of IWM North

    Lest We Forget? at Imperial War Museum North (IWM North), Manchester, 27 July 2018–24 February 2019, free entry - Visit now

    Lest We Forget marks the first instalment of a major new season of exhibitions, music, dance, talks and events at IWM London and IWM North exploring how the First World War has shaped society today.

More in Exhibitions

And Breathe... at Manchester Art Gallery
Exhibitions 16 March 2018–15 October 2019, FREE

And Breathe… at Manchester Art Gallery

Exploring the relationship between art and mindfulness And Breathe… is an exhibition of artworks from Manchester Art Gallery’s collection that explores the relationship between art, positive mental health and wellbeing.

Exhibitions 24 March 2018–7 April 2019, FREE

Exchanges at The Whitworth

Exchanges at The Whitworth sets art and artists together, sometimes in harmony, sometimes in opposition – always with insight and intention.

Bodies of Colour: Breaking with Stereotypes in the Wallpaper Collection at The Whitworth Art Gallery
Exhibitions 4 May 2018–19 May 2019, FREE

Bodies of Colour: Breaking with Stereotypes in the Wallpaper Collection at The Whitworth

This latest exhibition uses the Whitworth’s extensive and significant wallpaper collection to focus on how Imperial attitudes to people are reflected in wallpaper.

Speech Acts: Reflection-Imagination-Repetition at Manchester Art Gallery
Exhibitions 25 May 2018–22 April 2019, FREE

Speech Acts: Reflection-Imagination-Repetition at Manchester Art Gallery

What do public museums collect and why? Which works become highlights, and which lie forgotten in storage? Speech Acts: Reflection-Imagination-Repetition at Manchester Art Gallery considers how public museums reflect and shape our collective imagination.

William Roberts RA, Combat, 1966. Image courtesy of Art UK
Exhibitions 30 June 2018–24 February 2019, FREE

The Royal Academy Takeover: The Exhibition

Salford Museum & Art Gallery and Ordsall Hall delve into their collections to present a two-part exhibition featuring significant prints, drawings and sculptures by former Royal Academicians as part of a nationwide programme marking the institution’s 250th birthday.

Nordic Craft and Design at Manchester Art Gallery
Exhibitions 6 July 2018–10 November 2019, FREE

Nordic Craft and Design at Manchester Art Gallery

Showcasing furniture, fashion, lighting, ceramics, glass, metalwork and jewellery, Nordic Craft and Design at Manchester Art Gallery highlights the superb quality and creativity inherent in design from the region and features pieces from 1930 to the present day.

Modern Nature: British Photographs from the Hyman Collection at The Hepworth, Wakefield
Exhibitions 13 July 2018–22 April 2019, FREE

Modern Nature: British Photographs from the Hyman Collection at The Hepworth Wakefield

Modern Nature: British Photographs from the Hyman Collection at The Hepworth Wakefield is a new exhibition of images by leading British photographers, which explores our evolving relationship with the natural world and how this shapes individuals and communities.

Alice Kettle: Thread Bearing Witness at the Whitworth art gallery
Exhibitions 1 September 2018–24 February 2019, FREE

Alice Kettle: Thread Bearing Witness at the Whitworth

Thread Bearing Witness at the Whitworth is a major new series of large textiles and other works by Alice Kettle, a highly regarded contemporary artist who focuses upon stitch. The exhibition considers the themes of cultural heritage, refugee displacement and movement though the migration of stitches. 

Activity 3 September 2018–2 September 2019, FREE

Whitworth Art Gallery Daily Tour

Take a closer look at some of the Whitworth Art Gallery’s collection while gaining a better understanding of the context in which the pieces were created. The free tours run daily from 2 pm.

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