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Manchester lifestyle reviews
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Manchester lifestyle reviews

Gina Czarnecki at the Bluecoat

Gina Czarnecki

at the Bluecoat, Liverpool until 19 February 2012

Reviewed by Denis Joe December 2011

Curator: Sara-Jayne Parsons; Free Entry

 

Britain’s most famous art collector, Charles Saatchi, recently rounded on the contemporary art clique, condemning buyers as ‘vulgar’ and criticised curators as showing "videos, and those incomprehensible post-conceptual installations and photo-text panels, for the approval of their equally insecure and myopic peers". And he may have a point, it does seem that many feted artists today produce art whose only value seems to lie in the shock effect.

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Manchester lifestyle reviews

Adolphe Valette (1876 – 1942) at The Lowry

Adolphe Valette (1876 – 1942) at The Lowry

on until Sunday 29th January 2012

Reviewed by Dr Charlotte Starkey November 2011

 

Adolphe Valette’s haunting impressions of Manchester and Salford sometimes evoke the response, ‘Oh, they are so dark!’ That is not true of most of them but also not a surprising remark for a few paintings of which it is only partially true. When he painted scenes of Windsor Bridge on the Irwell, 1909, Albert Square, Manchester 1910, India House, Manchester 1912, York Street leading to Charles Street, Manchester 1913, and others, Manchester and Salford were regularly dark, very dark. Engels had described the area close to the River Medlock in 1842 to 1844 (cf. India House, Valette) as one of the worst slums in Manchester.

 

Fog, smog, pea-soupers of an atmosphere which left faces, lungs, clothes and lives filthy, damp and generally pretty dismal enabled Valette to see nocturnes of a ghostly beauty. He is, arguably, one of the first painters to recognise beauty specifically in the commercialised industrial world, certainly to find it in Manchester. In fact, India House is reminiscent of Turner in its use of reflected light and in many of his ‘Manchester/Salford’ paintings Valette’s colours are a complex mix of muted tones and colours, creating highlights and depths for emphasis and perspectives, never simple.

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Manchester lifestyle reviews

Buy Art Fair

Buy Art Fair

at Spinningfields, Manchester

Reviewed by Emily Pitts October 2011

 

Spinningfields hosted Manchester’s Fourth Buy Art Fair - the North’s answer to London’s Affordable art fair - Original, Affordable, Unmissable, according to the literature. It runs alongside the Manchester Contemporary, the North’s vehicle for critically engaged art.

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Manchester lifestyle reviews

Antonia Fraser

Antonia Fraser on Harold Pinter

at the Manchester Literature Festival

Reviewed by Helen Nugent October 2011

 

It’s not every day one emerges from a cubicle in the ladies’ toilet to find Lady Antonia Fraser waiting to use the facilities. But this is the month of the Manchester Literature Festival and so we must expect the unexpected.

 

Now in its sixth year, the MLF is rightly regarded as a festival heavyweight. As varied and engaging as the better known Cheltenham and Hay literature events, sell-out talks for 2011 have included such literary luminaries as Colm Toibin, Michael Frayn and David Lodge.

 

Last night was the turn of Lady Antonia, noted historian and wife of the late Harold Pinter. Now aged 79, she has lost none of her glamour and charm. Whether reading extracts from her new memoir of life with her dramatist husband or recounting stories about the London glitterati, Lady Antonia enchanted the audience.

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Manchester lifestyle reviews

Life in the UK at Castlefield Gallery

Life in the UK / Balance of Probabilities

by Didem Ozbek and Osman Bozkurt of PiST, at Castlefield Gallery

Reviewed by Sara Porter and Emma Short October 2011

 

Sara Porter's view...

On first approaching the Castlefield Gallery for the press preview of Life in the UK/ Balance of Probabilities the first thing that struck me was how I hadn’t noticed in my previous visit the blinds in the windows of the gallery, but then it was an atypically sunny day and in a more usually overcast Manchester, they probably hadn’t been needed them last time I was there. As I got closer I realised that this was in fact the first part of Ozbek and Bozkurt’s multi-media exhibition.

 

Life in the UK/ Balance of Probabilities is a debut UK commission of the two Istanbul based artists exhibited at Castlefield Gallery as part of Asia Triennial Manchester 2011. The work is based upon experiences of visa applications and for this purpose the gallery has been converted into a replication of a temporary VISA application centre.

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Manchester lifestyle reviews

Democratic Promenade at the Bluecoat

Democratic Promenade

at the Bluecoat, Liverpool until 27 November 2011

Reviewed by Denis Joe October 2011

 

Someone in Liverpool’s art sector must be working their way through a list of nouns or adjectives and is ticking them off one by one; counting down to Year Zero. This year the word is ‘Radical’ and as part of Liverpool City Of Radicals 2011, the Bluecoat’s artistic director, Bryan Biggs, has overseen this exhibition which looks at how the artists engage with the radical, through their work. The exhibit draws on works from the 20th century onwards.

 

Admittedly the celebration of Liverpool radicals takes place a century on from three events that happened in the city: the first post-impressionist exhibition of British artists took place at the Bluecoat; the famous Liver building, a radical architectural development, was completed and Liverpool became paralysed by a transport strike, which some say was near to revolution. The work of David Jacques’s work features prominently. His Serif types (2011), that can also be seen as a sort of Sopas de letras, dominates the publicity.

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