Thursday, 9 July 2009

Trade City @ CHIPS

Finally getting round to writing something which is not about the Cornerhouse.

New Islington is a weird place. For cyclists it moves between two extremes, beautiful quiet roads with lovely new surfaces to dual-carriageway, bumper-to-bumper-traffic, broken-glass hell. It's not an easy place to get to, even if it's just a few minutes walk from the Northern Quarter.

However, this awkward combination of untenable luxury flats and knackered social housing is actually quite a suitable context for Trade City (4 - 19 July). This is the first exhibition from Contemporary Arts Manchester, a new, not-for-profit consortium of arts organisations from across Manchester.

A rather tired looking set of objects and audio visual installations are sprawled around the space, the unused and incomplete space on the ground floor of the improbably named CHIPS. Even though I may be fully conversant with the theory behind the pieces, "site specific" piles of building materials or rubbish stuck to the walls, for me at least, needs a little more pizazz if they want to be more than the sum of their parts.

However, there is something hopeful and virile about the rather disorderly and earnest way that the exhibition is (not/group) curated. Though I don't really like most of the stuff that the exhibition contains, there is a maturity which cannot be denied.

This is a classic case of something not just being my cup of tea.

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