Arts Council Collection

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2012 - Focal Points: Art and Photography

Focal Points: Art and Photography
Manchester Art Gallery until 2 June 2013

Photography is at the heart of some of the most significant works of art of our times.
 
This new display of around 30 photographs explores just some of the different ways contemporary artists have used photography in their work. It reveals how they have used the camera to explore traditional artistic themes in new and exciting ways.
 
Taken from the 1980s onward, the photographs explore the body, reinvent still-life, examine our cultural identities and explore the places where we live, work and spend our leisure time. The artworks often find ways of making the familiar strange and the ugly beautiful.
 
The display features work by influential photographer Keith Arnatt, famous British artist Helen Chadwick, Turner Prize nominee Catherine Yass and Young British Artists such as Sarah Lucas and Jane and Louise Wilson.
 
It also includes a number of photographic works collected by the Gallery over the last 10 years, with support from the Contemporary Art Society’s Special Collection scheme. By artists including Craigie Horsfield, Cornelia Parker and Thomas Demand, these works explore the themes of photography and sculpture and the connections between the two. They are the inspiration for this photography display.
 
The photographs in this display come from the collections of Manchester City Galleries, The Arts Council Collection at The Southbank Centre, London and other lenders.
 
Installation views
 
For more information on the exhibition please visit Manchester Art Gallery website.
 
Art in Hard Times
The Walk to Dover by Spartacus Chetwynd and Victorian Paintings of Modern Life  
Until 14 April 2013
 
Focal Points
Spartacus Chetwynd, The Walk to Dover, 2005-2007 © the artist
 
The Walk to Dover documents a seven day walk from London to Dover made by the artist and friends. It was inspired by Charles Dickens’ semi-autobiographical tale David Copperfield.
 
Dressed as ‘Victorian Urchins’, the group traced the journey that Copperfield made as a young boy from the harsh world of child labour in London to sanctuary with his aunt in Dover. For seven days, the ‘urchins’ attempted to live in the same way that Copperfield would have: living off the land and foraging for food.
 
Through the work Chetwynd explores the issue of debt. The piece draws comparisons between Victorian debt prisons (a recurring theme in Dickens’ narratives as well as being experienced by his own family) and contemporary Britain’s credit culture.
 
On loan from The Arts Council Collection, the short film is being shown in the North West for the first time. It is on display at Manchester Art Gallery alongside five works from the city’s collection that also explore similar themes: Thomas Armstrong’s A Street Scene in Manchester; Hubert von Herkomer’s Hard Times; Briton Riviere’s His Only Friend; Frederick Barnard’s A Dress Rehearsal and William Powell Frith’s The Derby Day.
 
The late 19th century paintings highlight a Victorian fascination with their changing world of new social types and the rigid class structure of the time. Von Herkomer’s Hard Times, for example, features a Victorian family on a journey through the British countryside looking for work. While Rivière‘s His Only Friend depicts a homeless child by a roadside, and has strong echoes ofOliver Twist.
 
See Turner Prize nominee Spartacus Chetwynd’s film The Walk to Dover alongside some of the gallery's most popular 19th century paintings, including von Herkomer’s Hard Times, Rivière‘s His Only Friend and Powell Frith’s The Derby Day.
 
Made from stills photography and sound recordings, The Walk to Dover documents a seven day walk from London to Dover made by the artist and friends. It was inspired by Charles Dickens’ semi-autobiographical tale David Copperfield.
 
Dressed as ‘Victorian Urchins’, the group traced the journey that Copperfield made as a young boy from the harsh world of child labour in London to sanctuary with his aunt in Dover. For seven days, the ‘urchins’ attempted to live in the same way that Copperfield would have: living off the land and foraging for food.
 
Through the work Chetwynd explores the issue of debt. The piece draws comparisons between Victorian debt prisons (a recurring theme in Dickens’ narratives as well as being experienced by his own family) and contemporary Britain’s credit culture.
 
On loan from The Arts Council Collection, the short film is being shown in the North West for the first time. It is on display at Manchester Art Gallery alongside five works from the city’s collection that also explore similar themes: Thomas Armstrong’s A Street Scene in Manchester; Hubert von Herkomer’s Hard Times; Briton Riviere’s His Only Friend; Frederick Barnard’s A Dress Rehearsal and William Powell Frith’s The Derby Day.
 
The late 19th century paintings highlight a Victorian fascination with their changing world of new social types and the rigid class structure of the time. Von Herkomer’s Hard Times, for example, features a Victorian family on a journey through the British countryside looking for work. While Rivière‘s His Only Friend depicts a homeless child by a roadside, and has strong echoes of Oliver Twist.
 
Manchester Art Gallery
 
ACC Partners by Christies