Article published: Friday, January 7th 2011
‘Cuts and grazes: A creative view of the spending review’ will open its doors to the public on Monday January 10. On display will be work from ten emerging artists addressing the impact of government cutbacks to the arts.
Tucked away in the student hub of Fallowfield, a derelict old room has been transformed into a platform for artists to showcase their work. Against the background of spending cuts some may think it unlikely a volunteer led, self-funded art space could sustain itself past the honeymoon period of hyperbolic openings. The Art Corner however refute this, and will continue to display and host exhibitions into 2011 after a three month trial period last year resulted in a permanent residency.
January will see the collective bring together the work of artists from Manchester, Salford, London and Hove in an exhibition that is to address the spending review from a range of perspectives. The collective make a bold joint declaration of intent: “It is important as artists and curators to document and comment on political and social changes and to make a creative record for the future, and this is what we hope to do.”
‘Cuts and Grazes’ features a range of work over two rooms. This includes a poem from MMU student David Picken entitled ‘Polemic Lib Dem Polls’, which speaks of a dissatisfied nation and offers a possibly prophetic warning to Cameron and Clegg. The result of a collaborative effort from Joshua Miller and Nicky Watson is a sculpture exploring the negative implications of the cuts for aspiring young artists looking forward towards university.
Meanwhile Jane Lawson, a student at the University of Salford, presents her endeavours through a 1980’s Revival Mind Map. Jane lived through the 1980’s and her art explores some recurring themes in society. In particular she looks at our current predicament, namely a right wing government projecting faux-caring Big Society rhetoric, brutal cuts to the public sector and another royal wedding – which leads the artist to experience a sense of déjà vu.
The exhibition presents pieces in a variety of styles and form. Nevertheless all of the works on display lean heavily on the central theme of raising public awareness of the collective experience of the cuts, which reflects the ethos behind the collective’s selection process.
A spokesperson for the collective said: “Each artist was selected from a call for submissions, which asked potential exhibitors to provide their response to the spending review. The exhibition was conceived to highlight a public reaction to the recent spending cuts.”
Without compromising artistic vision the collective have had to become economically and environmentally aware. They explain the importance of using existing spaces: “You walk around Manchester or any city for that matter, and you see so many abandoned spaces. Recently people are thinking more creatively about how to use these empty spaces around them.”
Future plans are to carry on supporting the local and national community of emerging artists. More pop-up galleries will not be forthcoming. The collective affirm they are in a great space and they intend to keep using it.
Funding comes from the collective’s pockets, donations, and the 30 per cent commission they take from the sale of any work exhibited with any surplus money ploughed back into the project. By renovating a disused building, the collective have created an art space in what was formerly abandoned. Using a do-it-yourself philosophy to promote, support and showcase emerging artists in the North-West and beyond, the Art Corner is a welcome addition to South Manchester.
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