The work of three young, rising artists has been chosen for public display at Manchester Art Gallery, following a rigorous selection process by The Manchester Contemporary Art Fund this weekend (Oct 12 – 14).
Each piece, selected from hundreds of exhibiting artists, explores issues surrounding identity and belonging. The pieces provoke conversation by harnessing topical issues and celebrating historical and iconic object forms.
True to the Fund’s objective – to support young artists and provide them with a money-can’t-buy platform through which to achieve critical acclaim and greater popularity – the deserved winners, 27 year old Benoit Aubard from Paris, Juno Calypso aged 29 from London and 34 year old Ian McIntyre from Yorkshire, are all first-time exhibitors in the city and at a crucial stage in their career as they seek to gain public attention.
Speaking on behalf of The Manchester Contemporary Art Fund, Aviva Investors Manchester Art Fair CEO Thom Hetherington, said: “The Manchester Contemporary Art Fund is passionate about providing the people of Manchester with the opportunity to enjoy works from the most relevant contemporary artists.”
“This year’s recipients have produced outstanding works which will be at home as part of Manchester Art Gallery’s public collection. People sometimes know Manchester Art Gallery for its historical collections, but it’s important to remember that all art was contemporary once, and that Manchester Art Gallery must constantly acquire significant pieces which respond to our lives now, to ensure that it remains relevant for centuries to come.
“We hope the pieces we have chosen will encourage the public to reflect on their own identity and that of Manchester, from the city’s industrial revolution to social challenges we face today – the works really do each have a piece of Manchester within them.”
First to be selected at Friday’s exclusive preview of The Manchester Contemporary and Manchester Art Fair was the work of Parisian Artist, Benoit Aubard, represented by French gallery Galerie Nivet-Carzon.
Recognised for combining objects with words and a use of poetry to create works that comment on the ongoing challenges faced by modern society, Aubard’s chosen piece – Homesick, is a poignant text-based work, seeing a single powerful word sprayed directly on to a bedsheet found on the streets of Paris.
London-based photographer Juno Calypso’s piece – How Much Life is Enough, explores performative identity within the confines of a highly gendered space.
Shooting alone in a nuclear bunker 26 stories underground, the double self-portrait sees the artist feature twice in both a male and female bathroom.
Representing Calypso and speaking on the significance of the selection was gallerist Hannah Watson, Co-founder of exhibiting gallery TJ Boulting, representing young and emerging female artists. Watson said: “It is great because she is a young artist and it is the first time she has been admitted into Manchester Art Gallery’s public collection. She is an up and coming star … so hopefully this is the beginning of Juno coming to Manchester and doing other things in the city. If she does a talk you have to come and see her, she is brilliant.”
The final piece selected is the result of a three-year project by Manchester School of Art PHD student, Ian McIntyre. The artist worked with Airspace Gallery as part of a residency exploring revitalisation strategies for British industry. His piece – Re-engineered Brown Betty Teapot, explores how the humble teapot has evolved over the past 300 years and outlines the unquantifiable impact industry can have on a city like Stoke-On-Trent.
Speaking on the selection, Kate Jesson, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at Manchester Art Gallery, said: “Great contemporary art speaks on the time within which it is created, the pieces we have selected are proof that themes around identity and belonging can be explored without needing pictures of people.
“The collection belongs to the people of Manchester, so it is really important that our selection speaks to all people in some way.”