Niki de St. Phalle
Wallpaper, Art and Culture, with work by over 30 artists including Andy Warhol, Sarah Lucas, Damien Hirst, Robert Gober and Francesco Simeti. Kitsch ideas of home decoration are turned upside down as artists subvert the stereotypes of wallpaper to hit home messages about warfare, racism, cultural conflicts and gender. With prominent designers and artists using the medium as their primary method of expression, this exhibition provides a timely exploration of the possibilities and power of print.
Damien Hirst, Thomas Demand, Anya Gallaccio, David Shrigley, Michael Craig-Martin, Angus Fairhurst, Rosemarie Trockel, Martin Boyce, Robert Gober, Francesco Simeti, Niki de St. Phalle, Andy Warhol, Sarah Lucas, Abigail Lane, Zineb Sedira...
The first major UK exhibition of artists' wallpapers with work by over 30 artists including Andy Warhol, Sarah Lucas and Damien Hirst. Kitsch ideas of home decoration are turned upside down as artists subvert the stereotypes of wallpaper to hit home messages about warfare, racism, cultural conflicts and gender.
The exhibition is grouped around themes: subversion, commodification, imprisonment and sexuality. In Sonia Boyce's work Clapping, a feeling of claustrophobia and menace is strengthened by the repeated design of the black and white hand print. Zineb Sedira uses wallpaper patterns to illustrate social inequalities and gender difference from her French-Algerian Islamic perspective.
Thomas Demand, one of the foremost conceptual artists working today, covers the entire South Gallery in his Ivy wallpaper - intricate pieces of paper cut out and photographed make up a lifelike work of imprisoning beauty. In stark contrast to this are popular commercial papers that reinforce cultural and gender stereotypes; from Barbie or the Spice Girls to the use of male symbols such as beer cans, football teams or idealised female bodies.
Whether amusing, like David Shrigley's Industrial Estate, or startling, like Bashir Makhoul's Points of View, the rolls of paper in this exhibition provide an unprecedented insight into a bold and progressive contemporary art form. Wallpaper has long been thought of as a backdrop to the main event. With so many prominent designers and artists using the medium as their primary method of expression, this exhibition provides a timely exploration of the possibilities and power of print.
The Whitworth has been part of the cultural landscape of Manchester since 1889, when it was created as the first English gallery in a park as the Whitworth Institute. The Gallery would, as its founding mission set out: 'Secure a source of perpetual gratification to the people of Manchester & and cultivate taste and knowledge of the Fine Arts of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture.'
Early reports of the Gallery committee make much of the fact that the pleasure gardens were 'used by visitors and children of all social classes' to counteract the imagined and actual malaises of inner city industrial life. We still think this is a crucial part of our mission, and providing perpetual gratification for the people of Manchester seems no bad aim today.
Joanne Hitchen 0161 275 7472 email@example.com
Opening February 5, 2010
The Whitworth Art Gallery
Oxford Road (The University of Manchester) Manchester M15 6ER UK
Monday - Saturday 10am - 5pm
Sunday 12 - 4pm
Admission is free, and we are open on Bank Holiday Mondays