The beautiful man

The beautiful man

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

11 Rooms, Manchester Art Gallery, 14.07.11

As part of the Manchester International Festival Guest curators Hans Ulrich Obrist co-director of the Serpentine Gallery and Klaus Biesenbach  had invited 11 artists to curate 11 rooms within Manchester Art Gallery. I hadn't read any reviews but happened to see the posters on the way to MMU, as i have been exploring curating in my MA I felt I should have a look. the space was packed and there were queues for many of the rooms, you couldn't see what was inside until you went into the space, which was an interesting process to grab the viewers attention, it was a bit like the haunted house at the fun fair a sense of tension and anticipation. My first room was John Baldessari, an aim to resurrect the idea of having a cadaver to view within a gallery, bureaucracy meant it didn't happen so all the notes circle the room which was in itself captivating.

Review from The Telegraph
In an unexpectedly powerful piece Spanish provocateur Santiago Sierra asked veterans of the wars in Northern Ireland, Afghanistan and Iraq to stand in an empty gallery facing into a corner without responding or reacting to our presence. They will stand for a few hours each, one at a time, for the run of the show. Because we cannot see the face of the soldier, sailor or airman it is hard to know how to behave in the gallery. He is there but not there, relegated to a corner so that we don’t have to deal with him, and yet it feels wrong to ignore him completely. Many veterans would tell you that this state of non-existence accurately symbolises society’s way of treating men and women who have fought for their country. But there is a further twist. Are they being made to stand in the corner as a form of punishment?
Is it because of something they did? Or something their country asked them to do? Superb. 

In some respects it felt like having the crits with the Fine Art students I wasn't totally sure of the language I was engaged in, the works did affect me, in some rooms it felt like one was becoming a voyeur especially the Marina Abramovic and Joan Jonas pieces. This Guardian review  gives a brilliant incite into the exhibition.

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