In 2009 the organisers of the Buy Art Fair with funding from Arts Council England, launched The Manchester Contemporary to bring a fair of critically engaged contemporary art to the North of England. Five years on the invitational art fair for emerging developments within contemporary art returns boasting its strongest exhibitor line up yet.
With a new location under its belt (the event has signed a three-year deal with Manchester’s newest venue, Old Granada Studios), The Manchester Contemporary has made its stamp on the UK contemporary art scene and it’s only the start of things to come.
Bringing together 28 high-calibre exhibitors of critically engaged contemporary art, The Manchester Contemporary strives to break down the barriers to buying and collecting contemporary art. This year, greater emphasis than ever before has been given to encouraging people to engage with art and see how it might fit into their lives and homes, with guided tours and introductions to the exhibiting galleries a key part of the itinerary.
The event’s ambitions to make contemporary art more available are supported by that of its exhibitors and artists to be represented at this year’s show. Respected artist and former KLF musician, Bill Drummond, is just one of the high profile names appearing at the event with works from his World Tour exhibition The 25 Paintings.
The paintings, which Drummond started in the late 90’s, focus on twenty five of Drummond’s ongoing projects. Each painting acts as a signpost, advert or proclamation for what he is working on at the time. All follow Drummond’s self-set rules and feature only three primary colours – red, yellow and blue – which are “definitely never mixed” in addition to black and white. Each is a painting layered upon another painting. Over the past 15+ years Drummond has never allowed himself to paint more than 25 canvasses, instead he covers the last in primer and simply starts again.
The series is ongoing until 2025 and currently available for sale for those with a spare £1m. You can’t, however, have them until 2025 when Drummond’s World Tour will end back where it first started, under Spaghetti Junction in Birmingham; that’s another one of his rules.
A0 and A4 sized scale model paintings by Drummond will be available to purchase at The Manchester Contemporary, for the more modest sums of £5000 and £1000, from Eastside Projects. The acclaimed artist will be in attendance at intervals throughout the three-day event, creating live works which will feature in Drummond’s 2015 Berlin leg of the World Tour.
Also confirmed to appear at the event are Gateshead based gallery, Workplace, and Salford gallery, The International 3. Both have exhibited at The Manchester Contemporary since the beginning along with London gallery Domobaal who return after several years away.
Brand new galleries appearing for 2014 include London’s Carroll/Fletcher, Glasgow’s Patricia Fleming Projects and Nottingham based Syson. Together the galleries create an event that is both fresh and familiar.
Speaking ahead of the event, Paulette Terry Brien of The International 3 and curatorial coordinator of The Manchester Contemporary, said: “The geographic and generational spread of galleries is incredibly important to us as it demonstrates the increasing opportunities there are across the UK to purchase high quality contemporary art.
“2014 is an exciting year for The Manchester Contemporary as we celebrate our fifth anniversary in new premises that will see us through into our future.
“The Old Granada building is an impressive part of Manchester’s history and an excellent venue for this contemporary art fair. This stability will see us build on previous years, further encouraging collectors along with artists and galleries to enjoy, discuss and purchase great art.”
The success of The Manchester Contemporary to date verifies the increasing attention that contemporary art is receiving in the city. This year the event is proud to feature more exhibitors, artists and art than ever before. Included in the line up and sitting alongside Carroll/Fletcher, Patricia Fleming Projects and Syson, the event is delighted to welcome fellow first time exhibitors Cactus Gallery, Maria Stenfors, Tintype Grand Union, Caustic Coastal, S1 artspace and Extra Special People.
With prices ranging from £50 to £10,000+ The Manchester Contemporary presents work for the seasoned collector and the intrepid first timer.
The Manchester Contemporary is an invitational art fair that gives a platform to emerging developments, using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England. The Fair’s curatorial coordinators are Laurence Lane and Paulette Terry Brien of The International 3 and include representatives from Manchester Art Gallery and the Contemporary Art Society on its steering committee.
The Manchester Contemporary is delighted to be supporting Cancer Research UK as its chosen charity for 2014. Money raised through fundraising activities at the fair will help fund the construction of the new Manchester Cancer Research Centre (MCRC). The MCRC, which is being built in Withington, is set to revolutionise cancer treatment in the North West.