Must-See Spring Art Exhibitions That Are On Right Now: Part II

It's change-over time at the galleries of Manchester and although we are sad to wave goodbye to the old shows, artworks and installations, there is a fresh crop of new exhibitions we cannot wait to get our teeth stuck into...

By Manchester's Finest | 3 May 2018

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Sonia Boyce @ The Manchester Art Gallery
23rd March-22nd July

Focusing on work from the mid-1990s to the present the exhibition will reflect Boyce’s move from her earlier drawing and collage which explored her own position as a black British woman, towards more improvised, collaborative ways of working- through photography, film and wallpaper.

The gallery has also commissioned Boyce to make a new collaborative live work for the exhibition- a night-time group takeover of the gallery exploring ‘gender trouble’ among the gallery’s 19th-century painting displays and wider culture. This new commission – a 6 screen film – will be shown for the first time in the exhibition.

Manchester Art Gallery, Mosley Street, Manchester M2 3JL
0161 235 8888

Isaac Julian’s Ten Thousand Waves @ The Whitworth Art Gallery
30th March- 28th June

Ten Thousand Waves is rooted in the Morecambe Bay tragedy of 2004, in which 23 Chinese cockle-pickers drowned off the coast in northwest England.  This cinematic three-screen installation explores contemporary experiences of desire, loss and separation. Julien interweaves news footage of the rescue mission with the legend of Mazu the Sea Goddess, protector of seafarers, alongside scenes of the Guangxi province in southern China where the cockle-pickers’ spirits journey back to the ‘Middle Kingdom’, and the rapidly transforming city of Shanghai.

The Whitworth Art Gallery, Oxford Rd, Manchester M15 6ER
0161 2757450


Machines Will Watch Us Die @ The Holden Gallery
9th April-11th May 

A feeling of nostalgia for the technological past is combined with a sense of anxiety for an unknown future in this exhibition brought to you by Cory Arcangel, Emma Charles, Martin Howse, Rosemary Lee, Rosa Menkman and Shinji Toya.

The artists share a set of concerns that relates digital decay to themes of consumerism, obsolescence, loss and failure. Throughout the show, the boundaries between the material and the immaterial are constantly questioned to reveal the impermanence of all things digital and show how digital decay is shaping future archaeological scenarios for the digital culture of our time.

The Holden Gallery, MMU, Grosvenor Building, Cavendish St, Manchester M15 6BR
0161 247 1705

Faye Wei-Wei @ CCFCA
11th May- 8th July 

Recently graduated from the Slade School of Fine Art in 2016, 23-year old Faye Wei Wei is a young painter whose passion and energy has earned her considerable attention in the public eye. Faye’s large-scale figurative artworks draw you into an imaginative and painterly world that brings together symbolism, mystery and mythology. Wei Wei sees her mark-making as the record of vast sequences of gesture and movement. Her painting has a sense of enjoyment, revelling in the beauty of the unassuming and unexpected.

Chinese Centre for Contemporary Art, Market Buildings, 13 Thomas St, Manchester M4 1EU
0161 832 7271

Shen Xin @ CCFCA
11th May-1st July

Shen Xin is an award-winning film-maker who has brought three films over for an exhibition at CCFCA. Shen Xin’s practice engages with moving image and performative events, examining the
techniques and effects of emotion, judgement and ethics as they circulate through individuals
and collective subjects. The exhibition shows three short films that use different techniques to create fictionalised spaces where discussion on complex political issues plays out.

Chinese Centre for Contemporary Art, Market Buildings, 13 Thomas St, Manchester M4 1EU
0161 832 7271

The Alchemy of Colour @ The John Rylands Library
15th March-28th August

Poisonous paints, blackened bones, and beetles steeped in booze. Discover the strange and curious recipes that artists used to create some of history’s most vivid colours in the John Rylands Library latest exhibition.The Alchemy of Colour uncovers the bizarre stories behind artists’ palettes through a display of some of the most striking manuscripts in our collection. An exhibition full of surprises, immerse yourself in a history of colour that’s as remarkable in its inventiveness as it is in its beauty.

John Rylands Library,150 Deansgate, Manchester M3 3EH