The exhibition 'Speech Acts: Reflection-Imagination-Repetition' at Manchester Art Gallery (25th May 2018 to 22nd April 2019) places works typically considered ‘collection highlights’ alongside lesser-known works that are seen principally through lenses of biography and difference. Showcasing more than forty artists, the works are drawn primarily from four public collections in Manchester and Bradford. The exhibition, as part of the research project Black Artists & Modernism, examines the role of museums in telling our collective stories, through the artworks they hold and the exhibitions they arrange.
'Speech Acts' asks viewers to consider why some works become ‘highlights’ while others lie forgotten in storage; which stories frame our encounters with the art that we see, but cloak the art that we don’t? Do these stories change over time?
The exhibition is mounted in three sections:
Reflection – performing the self
How artists situate themselves in relation to histories and expectations.
Imagination – the sum of all
This central section has a stylised reconstruction of the LYC Museum at its heart. It explores how networks of people shape artistic
Repetition – I contain multitudes
How the central role of repetition in diverse practices allows us to read their relationships in fresh ways.
'Speech Acts' is an open-ended exhibition, so viewers can approach the show through Repetition or Reflection.
The Clore Art Studio channels the spirit of the children’s art room in the LYC Museum. The displays, activities
'Speech Acts' is an invitation to generate new stories and expand existing ones, together.
Hammad Nasar with Kate Jesson, exhibition curators
The free exhibition 'Speech Acts: Reflection-Imagination-Repetition' was on at Manchester Art Gallery from 25th May 2018 to 22nd April 2019.
The exhibition is presented in partnership with the Black Artists & Modernism (BAM) project. BAM was a three-year research project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council lead by UAL in collaboration with Middlesex University.
This text has been reproduced with permission from the publication produced by UAL with Manchester Art Gallery to accompany the exhibition, curated by Hammad Nasar with Kate Jesson.