The People You’re Not


In July 2010, Cornerhouse put out a call to young people and members of the public, inviting them to collaborate with us in a series of workshops and produce some of the artists’ ideas that appeared in our acclaimed exhibition Unrealised Potential.

The workshop participants, along with local cultural producer Bren O’Callaghan, had unfulfilled ideas from over 60 established and emerging artists to choose from. The resulting group exhibition, The People You’re Not is a satirical trip through the private and public faces of fame, which presents the projects of TV entertainer and popular satirical comedian Harry Hill, Manchester legend Edward Barton, and infamous wooden-pants-wearing balladeer Norman Clayture.

“The exhibition is linked by a conceptual thread: all of the artists selected use alter egos and performative personas to reflect and react to the humdrum of popular culture, celebrity, fame and the absurd – Owain Barton has become Edward Barton, Len Horsey is Norman Clayture and Harry Hill is otherwise known as Matthew Hall. The current cultural climate often suggests that it is now a basic human right for everyone to become ‘celebrities’, though here the group’s interpretations highlight the darker reality of this seemingly alluring entitlement”. Mike Chavez-Dawson – Curator, PhD Research Fellow at MIRIAD

Watch the official trailer for the exhibition below:


Inspired by the unfulfilled projects in our critically acclaimed exhibition Unrealised Potential, The People You’re Not is collaboratively created, interactive exhibition in Gallery 1, presenting the realised projects of three artists:

Harry Hill’s proposal To recreate George Cruikshank’s The Worship of Bacchus using known alcoholics has been realised by Bren O’Callaghan. Victorian satire meets Heat Magazine as six illustrators put a contemporary spin on scenes from George Cruikshank’s famous 1860 painting exposing the evils and horrors of alcohol. ‘Performers’ such as Kerry Katona and Liza Minnelli, Courtney Love and George Best, Oliver Reed and Lindsay Lohan are given centre stage in six large-scale Victorian-style toy theatres, setting the scene for cautionary tales of drunken celebrity clichés and the pitfalls of the demon drink.

A full list of the plays and celebrity cast members is available here

Feel Free to Stroke, proposed by Norman Clayture has been realised as an absurd, affectionate installation, that pays homage to the adoring fans and rock and roll life of ‘Norman Clayture’, a guitar hero in wooden underpants. Viewers are invited to step into Norman’s office and get an insight into the public and private life of the notorious balladeer. With exclusive access to soul-baring letters from Norman’s adoring fans and a chance to get on stage and experience five minutes of his fame, it has been created by members of LiveWire, an integral part of Cornerhouse’s programme aimed at young people aged 14-19.

Edward Barton’s proposal was simply Please Improve My Work. And so the group who chose it have recreated a significant, startling work of his entitled I’ve Got No Chicken But Five Wooden Chairs. In the new ‘improved’ version, I’ve Got a Chicken But No Wooden Chairs, an audio-visual installation merges vintage footage with new, bringing a darkly absurd element to the original. The work blurs the line between public performance and intimate private life, inviting a closer, off-kilter look at the eccentric side of the celebrity soul.