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The Manchester Art Gallery is showing a new display "Dreams Without Frontiers" on the ground floor
Andy Warhol's Unfinished Symphony (detail), 2010-2012, Kelley Walker © the artist and Thomas Dane Gallery Photo © Sven Eselgroth Photography 2012.


The Manchester Gallery at Manchester Art Gallery is showing a bold new exhibition of work by international contemporary artists Cyprien Gaillard and Kelley Walker. 

Dreams Without Frontiers features an evolving mixed-media 13 part installation by American artist Kelley Walker and a short film The Smithsons, 2005 by Paris-born and Berlin-based artist Cyprien Gaillard.

The exhibition has been curated in partnership with author and DJ Dave Haslam. He said about the exhibition: 

”In the late 1970s, in Manchester’s landscape of empty warehouses, derelict factories and high-rise housing, there was a sense of alienation and uncertainty. This trauma was something felt in other cities round the world, but Manchester’s post-punk soundtracked it in a particularly potent way. 

The Smiths and Joy Division, were rooted in Manchester but they took a lot of influences from elsewhere too; as a young man Ian Curtis was obsessed with Berlin, even though he’d never been there. As all artists do, they looked beyond frontiers for information and inspiration to help make sense of life, to reflect their experience of bewilderment and the yearning for escape. 

The art in this exhibition explores similar ideas and feelings. I’ve learned that Cyprien Gaillard and Kelley Walker have an abiding interest in Manchester music. You can see how it’s something absorbed into their work. The story and the mythologies of Manchester’s music are now part of a much bigger world of ideas and artistic activity.

Kelley Walker, for instance, has never been to Manchester, but this exhibition shows how Manchester already inhabits him and his art.” 

This exhibition is the UK premiere of Cyprien Gaillard’s short film The Smithsons, 2005. The work depicts tower blocks on the New Jersey shoreline, filmed at dusk from Manhattan island. It uses The Smiths’ classic single Asleep for the soundtrack. Like much of Gaillard’s work, the piece explores how modern architecture has become a contemporary ruin on the verge of being taken over by nature.

Kelley Walker’s evolving 13 part installation is a very personal take on 40 years of popular culture in the US and the North of England. It takes its creative inspiration in part from Manchester, through a collage made from the opened up record sleeve of The Smiths’ single Panic. The mixed-media installation also combines screen printing, drawing, photography and painting to draw together ideas and themes such as a history of celebrity, references to Andy Warhol and an exploration of the media as a cause and symptom of anxiety in contemporary culture.

A programme of talks about the art, local history and Manchester’s place in international culture runs alongside this exhibition. In addition, Dave Haslam is working on an extended fanzine/essay exploring ideas related to Dreams Without Frontiers. 

Dreams Without Frontiers is the first of an annual programme curating Manchester through art, objects and the stories people make with them.

The exhibition is on display on the ground floor, Manchester Art Gallery until May 2013. Entry is free.

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