News | Wednesday, 11th October 2017

Art exhibition to explore transforming objects, things and sites

Material Remains at the Holden Gallery from October 23 to December 15

Material Remains

Lara Almarcegui, Becky Beasley, Derek Brunen

Cyprien Gaillard, Taiyo Onorato & Nico Krebs

October 23 - December 15 2017

As exhibitions are often used to mark important events, or the more random anniversaries of the birth or death of an artist or writer - Material Remains offers something different.

As the Holden Gallery is about to be surrounded by hoardings, and work begins on a new building on the space next door, the exhibition reflects on that process.

Beyond the familiar banality of making and building, there is an interest in the transformation of objects, things and sites. As the sounds of digging, drilling, filling, hammering and the pouring of concrete will be heard outside, inside the exhibition will explore the fascination with the materials left behind, or those utilised for other purposes.

Looking at the carefully finished objects, consumer goods and buildings that surround us, it can be difficult to think about them in terms of their raw materials. The turning of these materials into desirable objects is a condition of our financial system, there is a demand for constant progress, yet the implication and consequence of this process is not always so visible or clear. Artworks in the show look to question the nature of everyday materials, provide alternative visions of outmoded things, re-work familiar objects, as well as opening up ideas around materiality and use.

Peeling back

Whatever we do, there is always something that is left behind, some trace of the material remains of our existence. It is these traces which provide the focus of the exhibition, the need to uncover what lies beneath or beyond our vision.

Research and data collecting is intrinsic to Lara Almarcegui’s practice, where there is a focus on urban sites that are usually overlooked. With an interest in the implication of regeneration and urban development, her work examines vacant wastelands and construction materials, providing systematic data that acknowledges both the excessive and neglected aspects of progress in modern urban space.

Becky Beasley draws attention to fundamental properties of materials, and investigates the potential to re-work an object from one form into something new. In A Man Restored A Broken Work, Beasley engages in repairing previously made woodwork objects. Build, Night is a pair of photographs which were made by arranging the pieces of the object that appears in the film three years prior to its being restored. The resulting photographs and films are a demonstration of transformative qualities of an object through manual work and the passing of time.

Derek Brunen’s work often engages in labour-intensive actions, physically transforming a site through manual labour and endurance. Plot is a 6 hour 15 minute film recording the artist digging his own six-foot grave in real time, at a plot at Mountain View Cemetery, Vancouver. This act questions the human body’s physical limits, and presents itself as a direct visual reading of our own mortality.

Cyprien Gaillard’s film Pruitt-Igoe Falls references the problematic history of a Saint Louis housing project, demolished only 30 years after construction. The film utilises footage of the demolition of a tower block in Glasgow, the night-time shot of the block lit up next to a grave yard is a portent for the eventual fate of many similar schemes.

Taiyo Onorato and Nico Krebs have responded to a number of abandoned construction sites by manipulating and enhancing the way they are viewed. The artist duo strategically place wooden structures in front of the partially constructed buildings, through optical trickery and altering the perspective it generates the appearance of a ‘completed building’. The 16mm film Blockbuster employs similar perspective manipulation, it depicts a man who appears to be attempting to hammer a building into shape. A reminder perhaps, of the difficulties of the individual against the weight of the state.

The Holden Gallery, Manchester School of Art,

Cavendish Street, Manchester, M15 6BR

Admission Free

Opening Hours:

Monday – Friday 12-6pm, Thursday 12-7pm

Twitter: @HoldenGallery

Curator: Steven Gartside

Assistant Curator: Zoe Watson

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