Join us to celebrate the opening of No Particular Place to Go? and our 35th anniversary from 6-8pm on Thursday 5 September.
Artists: James Ackerley, Sir Anthony Caro, Nicola Ellis, Ana Genovés, Lee Grandjean, Charles Hewlings, Hilary Jack, Stephanie James, Stephen Lewis, Jeff Lowe, Michael Lyons, Henry Moore, Jill Randall, Veronica Ryan, Laura White.
Established by artists in 1984, 2019 marks thirty-five years for Castlefield Gallery. The organisation actively supports artistic production and artist career development, providing artists with timely exposure whilst sharing their work with the public. Castlefield Gallery is often described as a home for artists.
Curated in collaboration with art historian Dr Clare O’Dowd and artist / curator John Plowman of Beacon Bureau, No Particular Place to Go? is informed by extensive research into Castlefield Gallery’s archives and exhibition history, exploring this history through the lens of sculpture
No Particular Place to Go? highlights the gallery’s rich history of engagement with British sculpture and the role it has had, and still has as a place for the ‘sculptural zeitgeist’. Pieces in the exhibition will date back to the gallery’s inaugural programme which included a solo presentation of work by Sir Anthony Caro (Castlefield Gallery’s ‘Artist Patron’ until he passed in 2013). Caro’s Table Pieces were a focus for the 1984 exhibition, the show running alongside a major presentation of larger Table Pieces alongside other works at The Whitworth, the museum and art gallery subsequently purchasing Table Piece XCVlll (1970) for their collection.
A few years later in 1987 Castlefield Gallery mounted a Henry Moore solo, the first exhibition of his work at a publicly-funded gallery following his death in 1986. The exhibition featured Moore’s smaller works, including five bronze maquettes. No Particular Place to Go? in particular foregrounds sculpture’s relationship to the studio / gallery / archive, as a way to reflect upon the ‘homelessness’ of the medium, the term ‘homelessness’ in relation to sculpture first used by Rainer Maria Rilke in his famous account of Rodin, initially given as a lecture and later published in 1910. Rilke described the sculptures he saw as he walked through Rodin’s studio as isolated, self-contained things, cut off from the world: ‘His works could not wait; they had to be made. He long foresaw their homelessness.’
The artists invited to take part in No Particular Place to Go? have all exhibited at Castlefield Gallery during the last thirty-five years, with the curators inviting them to return to a place that once acted as a temporary ‘home’ for their work. To this end No Particular Place to Go? welcomes Table Piece XCVIII back to Castlefield Gallery, on loan from The Whitworth. Much smaller and more intimate than Caro’s welded floor sculptures, his Table Pieces are indicative of the intimacy of the studio, as the ‘place’ where the Table Pieces were made. The exhibition takes Caro’s Table Pieces as a starting point, focusing on smaller objects, those made in the artists’ studio as an exploration of an idea, material, form, process, or simply a sculpture that could be at home on a table.
Sculptor Michael Lyons (1943-2019) wrote the catalogue essay for the Caro Table Sculptures exhibition at Castlefield Gallery, and his account of Caro’s working methods forms an important part of the thinking behind No Particular Place to Go? Lyons also exhibited at Castlefield Gallery in 1984, his work informing many future generations of sculptors, Lyons teaching at what was then Manchester Polytechnic’s Department of Fine Art from 1974 until he retired as Head of Sculpture in 1993. His much loved and monumental sculpture Phalanx (1977) has been a central feature in the grounds of The Whitworth since being purchased by the gallery in 1980 and remains on display in Whitworth Park today.
The intimacy of Caro’s Table Pieces is echoed in Henry Moore’s Reclining Figure-Bowl (1960), also on loan for the exhibition from The Whitworth, a small bronze that not only reflects on Moore’s working methods but is indicative of the five bronze maquettes by Moore shown at Castlefield Gallery in 1987.
Outside of the Caro and Moore loans, each artist participating in No Particular Place to Go? will exhibit a sculpture from the time of their original exhibition together with a more recent work, the show reflecting on the creative processes of the participating artists from when they first exhibited with Castlefield Gallery, to the present day.
For No Particular Place to Go? sculptor Charles Hewlings has been commissioned to work with Manchester-based sculptor James Ackerley. Together they will develop and exhibit a site-specific sculptural structure, one designed to house and display the other exhibiting artists’ works. Hewlings and Ackerley’s commission will extend across and throughout the gallery spaces, integrating with and challenging Castlefield Gallery’s distinctive interior architecture, giving the exhibiting sculptures a ‘particular place to go’.
image : Charles Hewlings, Neighbours, 2009