Monday, 31 March 2014
Encountering Corpses (Part 5)
The walking tours of Manchester's Southern Cemetery and the day of funereal talks have now been held, the art exhibition for 'Encountering Corpses' is in full swing and monthly night club ARA held in and cosseted by its work. By all accounts, this is the most successful strand of MMU's HiP to date (see previous blogposts for acronym explanations).
I went to the preview launch night of the art exhibition and it was great to see Sacred Trinity packed to the rafters (over 150 people through its doors). People from all sorts of different social circles brought together by this art collection, enjoying its many facets - whether that be wonder at the skull cakes, shock at the closeness to death some of these images bring you or interest in the nature of the subject raised.
The launch event included a number of short talks and poetic readings from curator Helen Malarky, artists Sue Fox and Paul Koudounaris and poets Helen Maguire and Yvonne Carson. This was followed by cutting of the cake (made by Annabel de Vetten) and a set of murder ballads from Canadian performer Lee Mellor. Thanks also go to artist and co-curator Kolyn Amor and and Rev Andy Salmon for supporting the creation of the exhibition, the smooth running of the launch and opening the church for the next fortnight to allow the public to visit.
Helen has been bringing together online content responding to the exhibition in Storify - there's a lot of it! The event has been written about in Bizarre magazine and in local rag Manchester Evening News as well as on countless blogs. So far, the #EncounteringCorpses twitter tag has reached almost 700,000 different users through over 2000 retweets. That's pretty good going and just goes to show that there is a great interest in its subject matter.
The quality of artwork from the Corpse Collective (a dozen local artists responding to the theme), as well as the two featured artists, is high. Their work includes photography, digital manipulations, sculpture, painted works, poetry and video art - a great range. Both on launch night and at ARA, those surrounded by the art are prompted into discussions about the modern experience of death, the stories of Paul's martyr saints (and his own journey to uncover them), the emotions provoked by Sue's morgue photography and the creativity of the Corpse Collective responses.
I know I have artwork in it, but it's a great exhibition. Make time to visit before it ends on April 10th.