Hayward Gallery Touring’s landmark exhibition British Art Show 9 opens in Manchester from 27 May – 4 September 2022

Hayward Gallery Touring’s landmark exhibition British Art Show 9 (BAS9) opens in Manchester from 27 May – 4 September 2022. British Art Show is recognised as the most pertinent and ambitious recurrent exhibition of contemporary art produced in the UK, taking place every five years and bringing the work of some of the most exciting contemporary artists to Castlefield Gallery, HOME, Manchester Art Gallery and the Whitworth.

This presentation will also mark the return of the British Art Show to Manchester which originally hosted British Art Show 4 in 1995 and British Art Show 6 in 2006.

The show is curated by Irene Aristizábal and Hammad Nasar and focuses on work made since 2015. The exhibition reflects a precarious moment in Britain’s history, which has brought politics of identity and nation, concerns of social, racial and environmental justice, and questions of agency to the centre of public consciousness. The artists presented in the exhibition respond in critical ways to this complex context. Through their works, they imagine new futures, propose alternative economies, explore new modes of resistance and find ways of living together.

They do so through film, photography,painting, sculpture, and performance, as well as through multimedia projects that don’t sit easily in any one category.

The exhibition is structured around three main themes – Healing, Care and Reparative History,Tactics for Togetherness, Imagining New Futures – and has been conceived as a cumulative experience, adapting and changing for each city, and presenting different combinations of artists and artworks that respond to their distinctive local contexts.

In Manchester, the exhibition will showcase 19 artists whose works directly address BAS9’s three main curatorial themes. Their projects aim to extend our understanding of identity to beyond the human, often blurring the boundaries between art and life.

Through their works, they propose alternative futures,economies and ways of living together. The presentation will feature many ambitious immersive installations, five new works and two new commissions made specifically by artists in response to local
histories and cultures in Manchester.

The exhibition includes a programme of artist films and a dedicated website which enables artists to share works online. A schedule of events, talks and activities for visitors of all ages, both in person and online, will extend the reach of British Art Show 9 throughout Greater Manchester and the North West.

One of these is Art Agents, a programme of activity that uses the art and themes in BAS9 to make change by working with groups and individuals and their communities in live projects. A series of six community projects led by residents of Manchester address issues around hidden homelessness, food poverty, disability and agency within the art world. Community representatives and partner organisations are working together to help make a difference in our city and our institutions.

Brian Cass, Senior Curator, Hayward Gallery Touring, said: “We’re delighted to be working with Castlefield Gallery; HOME; Manchester Art Gallery; and the Whitworth on British Art Show 9. This major exhibition has a long history with Manchester, and previous iterations have been of huge importance for the city and its many communities. British Art Show 9 features remarkable artists whose work help us expand our understanding of who we are and how we engage with the world. We’re committed to presenting this exhibition of the most inventive and relevant contemporary art being produced in the UK today to everyone who lives in, and visits Manchester and we hope the show will be an opportunity for expansive experiences and conversations between artists, artworks and people across the city. We acknowledge the withdrawal of several artists from the show, however, we’re confident that all our partners are absolutely committed to artistic and academic freedoms and ensuring freedoms of expression and speech.”

Alistair Hudson, Director of Manchester Art Gallery and the Whitworth, The University of Manchester said: “For the third time, Manchester welcomes the British Art Show to the city. The world has changed dramatically since this landmark survey exhibition last visited our city in 2006, and this iteration is particularly poignant given the difficulties the world is facing right now and the challenges of culture in dealing with them. In its making, the curators and artists of BAS9 have been especially conscious to question Britishness, concepts of art and even the very idea of a ‘show’. That we ask such testing questions here is fitting for a city that has, since its birth, embraced radicalism, difference and the complexities of modern life. All the four partner venues in our city have been united in our wish for the presentation of BAS9 to be part of our working out of the challenges we face, and what kind of culture we make for the people who live here. This is a city created by making and doing things together, and doing things differently. The British Art Show in Manchester will not be like any other and all the better for it.”

Hammad Nasar and Irene Aristizábal, Curators of British Art Show 9, said: “We are pleased to present the third iteration of BAS9 in Manchester. In their response to our complex times, the work of BAS9 artists showing in Manchester deploys art’s capacity to be multiple things at once – imagining more hopeful futures, employing historical inquiry as a form of repair and exploring new modes of resistance. We support the different positions of resistance that have been articulated by BAS9 artists – the withdrawal of participation and the amplification of voices in solidarity with Palestine – and share the artists’ call for reparative action. We are committed to BAS9 being a platform for action and exchange, and for these, and other difficult but important conversations BAS artists are engaged with, to move beyond the realm of the visual arts into the wider public sphere in Manchester and beyond.”


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