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The Whitworth announces four new exhibitions to complete its reopening year
Cornelia Parker with a fragment of Magna Carta (An Embroidery) in the British Library. Photo by Tony Antoniou.


MANCHESTER.- The Whitworth, part of The University of Manchester, continues its record-breaking reopening year with four further exhibitions, announced today. Critically-acclaimed British artists Bedwyr Williams, Richard Forster and Cornelia Parker will each bring major shows to the gallery plus a show, Art_Textiles, which brings together works by artists from around the world who use textiles as a powerful tool for expressing ideas about the social, political and artistic.

Bedwyr Williams (8 Aug 2015 – 10 Jan 2016) the renowned Welsh artist, invites the viewer to experience life as a chunk of quartz through an extraordinary sound and light installation, The Starry Messenger. From a tiny pebble caught in the terrazzo floor to the infinite enormity of the cosmos, visitors will traverse from the micro to the macro through mosaic, dentistry and amateur space exploration. First shown at the Venice Biennale in 2013, The Starry Messenger has been reconfigured especially for the Whitworth to include new work by Williams, and an eclectic selection of drawings and wallpaper drawn from the Whitworth’s collection. The Starry Messenger was co-curated by Oriel Davies and MOSTYN and commissioned by the Arts Council of Wales, the tour is supported by the Colwinston Charitable Trust.

Cornelia Parker returns to the Whitworth following her critically acclaimed exhibition that reopened the gallery this February, with Magna Carta (An Embroidery). This major new artwork celebrates the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta in 2015. Fabricated by many hands, it replicates in stitch the entire Wikipedia article on Magna Carta as it appeared on the document’s 799th anniversary. Hand embroidered by more than 200 people, a large part was stitched by prisoners supervised by Fine Cell Work and members of the Embroiderer’s Guild. Other contributors, selected to represent a cross-section of society, range from barons, baronesses, MPs and lawyers, to human rights advocates and activists. Commissioned by the Ruskin School of Art at the University of Oxford in partnership with the British Library, Magna Carta (An Embroidery) will be at the Whitworth from 8 August to 1 November 2015.

Richard Forster brings his hyper-realistic drawings to the Whitworth from 29 August 2015 to 21 February 2016. Using his own photographs, or images found in magazines, books or on the internet, Forster has created his own style of meticulous ‘photocopy-realistic’ drawings in graphite. His choice of subjects is diverse but are brought together by an underlying interest in measuring his experience of the world. Common to them all is a documentary approach to time and its passing, and a sense of the place of the individual within the collective. This exhibition was organised and first shown at Ingleby Gallery, Edinburgh.

Finally, the Whitworth celebrates the unique relationship between its fine art and internationally significant textiles collection with Art_Textiles from 10 October 2015 to 31 January 2016. Textiles are currently enjoying exciting new currency in the visual arts, but traditionally they have been situated on the margins, in a borderland between art and craft. Since the 1960s, however, a growing body of contemporary art demonstrates a new engagement with the materials and techniques of crafts, particularly textiles, raising questions around femininity and the politics of identity and nationhood, as well as the value of the handmade in the digital age. Including artists such as Magdalena Abakanowicz, Faith Wilding, Tracey Emin, Grayson Perry, Ghada Amer and Kimsooja, the exhibition will explore the highly ambivalent status of textiles as an art medium.





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