Castlefield Gallery kicks off it’s Autumn season-before closing down it’s existing venue- with Apocalypse Now and Next week!, a group show curated by Manchester based curator Yuen Fong Ling. Apocalypse is intended as a fetishistic depiction of “The End” – sometimes fun, sometimes fearful – in what Ling describes as “an exhibition in a constant state of emotional chaos and confusion, a theme park for doubt and insecurity”. In this ‘art-cum-design’ intervention, layers of destruction, reinvented facades and media personas criss-cross the art works and generate a chaotic search for meaning, direction and truth.
In Y.F Ling’s curatorial re-positioning of the artwork, The Jones Family (2000), by Lisa Holden has moved in and taken over the gallery. Their four portraits digitally manipulated photographs of Holden adopting the role of the nuclear family line the walls and illustrate a breakdown of identity, gender the factual and the fictional.
Claire Norcross sculpture made with industrial cable ties depicts the artist’s obsessive struggle between the natural and man-made, while Pat Flynn’s Boulders dominate the space as large-scale computer game graphics come to life. Meanwhile, Chris Morgan’s video of an aging ‘gay bear’ in military uniform dances to his favourite records in an empty disco, as Mark Briggs’ Super 8 projection fused with a strobe light flashes ‘NOW’ in fleeting moments of melancholy.
Clive Caswell creates dreamy, suburban landscapes from Fred Basset’s Daily Mail cartoon strips above Frank Flowers contentious photographic memorial to his terminally ill mother nearing the end of her own life. Paul Needham’s paintings on glass depict natural disasters both visually and potentially literally. Resting on shelves, a wrong move could send the artwork crashing. Variable D Gallery presents a window into the future with a ‘virtual 3-D poster’ profiling the new and improved Castlefield Gallery. Manchester’s leading contemporary art space will re-open in 2001, exactly when is (admittedly) still in question. If it’s all too much, furniture design team Ferrious provides seating designed to catch the ailing mind and body in chaotic contemplation.
For Apocalypse, a series of ‘happening’ or interventions are scheduled. Blackpool-cum German Expressionist performance artist David Hoyle will unshackle himself from his media-suffocating drag persona “The Divine David”, by crucifying the character in a ‘live painting performance’. Graffiti art collective Doodlebug will bring the urban streets of England’s North into the prissy white gallery interior. Bono and Sting will stage and “end of term civil war disco” between the ‘round heads’ and the ‘cavilers’ in a battle of the DJ event. Lastly, Jay Cloth a self proclaimed ‘art house cleaner’ will be creating original art from dust balls, dead fly’s and other material. Manchester housewives are invited to seek Jay Cloth’s advice to discover their true artistic potential.