NORTH Festival of Contemporary Art Announced

Image: Ryan Gander, Samson’s push, or Composite (2010) Ikea tables © Ryan Gander. Courtesy Lisson Gallery. Image Ken Adlard.

Friday 2 October – Saturday 31 October 2015

NORTH is a new initiative which aims to showcase and develop contemporary art in the North of England whilst provoking critical debate on the future artistic production in the region.

In a series of curated ‘pavilions’, exhibitions and events, NORTH will explore the breadth and strength of talent within the region.

The PAVILIONS FOR THE NORTH OF ENGLAND are curated by institutions and individuals who shape the arts in the North, including the Manchester Pavilion by BUREAU, Middlesbrough Pavilion by Platform A, Newcastle Pavilion by VANE, and Birmingham Pavilion curated by IKON gallery.

FOCUS EXHIBITIONS will present international artists alongside those from the region in distinct projects – from Joe Scanlan in the USA to Ryan Gander who was born and educated in the North of England.

Delivered in partnership with Warrington Contemporary Arts Festival and supported with funding from Arts Council England, NORTH presents a programme of exhibitions and talks in multiple venues across Warrington from more formal spaces in the Pyramid art centre to raw ex-retail units and station platforms. Warrington has been chosen as a bridge point between two of the North’s ‘art powerhouses’: Liverpool and Manchester and the half way point between London and Glasgow.

NORTH HIGHLIGHTS

PAVILIONS FOR THE NORTH OF ENGLAND — The Pavilions project is at the heart of NORTH’s aims for 2015, bringing together key northern cities, organisations, artists and institutions who shape the arts in the North. In conscious contrast to the high finance projects of the Venice biennale, institutions and individuals have been invited to curate exhibitions across Warrington from formal gallery spaces in the Pyramid Art Centre to raw ex-retail units. Each presentation will focus on home grown talent and showcase the strength of contemporary art in their city and region. These projects include Manchester Pavilion curated by BUREAU, Middlesbrough Pavilion curated by Platform A, Newcastle Pavilion curated by VANE, and Birmingham Pavilion curated by IKON gallery.

FOCUS EXHIBITIONS — will present international artists alongside those from the region in destinct projects, exploring ideas and issues that resonate locally and internationally. The largest of these projects is:

THE DREAM OF MODERN LIVING? – Contemporary artists explore IKEA

Frédéric Pradeau, IKEA furniture constructed blindfolded, Video
Frédéric Pradeau, IKEA furniture constructed blindfolded, Video

In 1987, Britain’s first IKEA opened in Warrington. Since then, the store has found a place in the thoughts and memories of local people. The Dream of Modern Living? was inspired in part by Warrington’s status as home to the first Ikea in England, an environment that several of the local artists including Gander remember visiting as children. Warrington IKEA is said to have the highest visitor numbers of any store in the country and allegedly the lowest spend per head, suggesting that people go not just to buy furniture but to see and to experience designs, ideas, even food from elsewhere as a kind of cultural experience.

Curated by Paul Carey – Kent, the exhibition examines artists’ reactions to IKEA as a business, lifestyle and aesthetic. Their responses range from using IKEA products as art materials to reinterpreting the furniture, from attempting to live in-store to subverting the catalogue of which more than 200 million copies are printed each year. The artists include Guy Ben Ner, Ryan Gander, Clay Ketter, Marie Karlberg, Joe Scanlan, Sara McKillop, Frédéric Pradeau, Mary Griffiths and Stuart Hartley.

TALKS — Alongside curator led tours and artist development workshops, a panel discussion will consider the current status and future of contemporary art in the North of England with speakers from key institutions including The Bluecoat (Liverpool), The Manchester Contemporary, and The Hepworth (Wakefield).

The programme is constantly evolving, please check www.northcontemporary.com for the latest details and more information.

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