Staff Review/ Lost is Found

Cornerhouse Digital Reporter Joe Tyrell explores our current exhibition…

The curation of a group exhibition is something that I, and I’d imagine many people, rarely think about. Having walked around a gallery, we are left with individual artworks that stand out, perhaps because we found them aesthetically appealing, or because they made us think about a wider picture, but it’s not often that we consider how and why those particular pieces of art are there, together.

Lost is Found, the new exhibition in Gallery 1 at Cornerhouse, makes it an impossible question to ignore. Whilst the artist’s works are each captivating in their own individual sense, it is within the exhibition that they seem to have found their true identity.

What makes Lost is Found most remarkable is the fact that the team behind it are all under twenty; a group of young people from Greater Manchester who have been given free reign to select and bring together the work of nine different artists from the North of England as part of the Creative Stars programme. Their response is one of noticeable maturity which makes for fascinating viewing.

The exhibition team initially set out on their search with little idea of what their show should include or communicate, but this soon changed, according to curator Neetu Roy. Although most had an initial instinct about the work that they liked, repeating themes soon emerged, leading to a diverse selection combined with the common threads of identity and transformation.

For example, Mark Beecroft’s three untitled works are wooden coat hangers reconfigured into new linear forms. This reconstruction (or deconstruction) brings with it a new life and narrative to the previously prosaic object. The same is true for Andrea Booker’s Spilt Milk. These two words are spelt out on the wall in iron lettering that has been found at a dilapidated Manchester factory, expressing a new significance and energy through their reincarnation, whilst also leading us to question the original origin when taken out of context. The notion of authorship that this infers is also key to Jon Barraclough. His two graphite drawings, from the Everything and Nothing series, are highly textured yet somewhat ethereal; depicting visually abstract shapes whose content is to be decided on by the onlooker.

An element of craft is noticeable throughout, with Eileen O’ Rourke sewing patterns from human hair, and Emily Speed casting fragile eggs from plaster, both of whom create works that, either through the medium or the final object, suggest a transiency and fragility that is unavoidable and perhaps extremely necessary in an exhibition that is dealing with past lives and future identities.

As Alistair Howard (also one of the curators) quite rightly says, discerning the themes of such conceptual artwork can at times be a dubious task. Yet it is something that the Creative Stars team has done with great dexterity in order to create a show in which every piece shares such a great affinity, leading us as the viewer to question not only the histories and identities of the artists and their work, but also of ourselves.

Lost is Found continues in Gallery 1 until Sun 19 Feb 2012. The Galleries are open Tue – Sun and are free to visit. Do pop in and take a look for yourself.