Art UK has updated its cookies policy. By using this website you are agreeing to the use of cookies. To find out more read our updated Use of Cookies policy and our updated Privacy policy.

Speech Acts

Speech Acts

Art on display includes works by Wyndham Lewis, Yara El-Sherbini, Pushpamala N., Said Adrus, Gilbert & George and David Hockney

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?

Speech Acts

Speech Acts

The exhibition centres on artist Li Yuan-chia’s LYC Museum & Art Gallery (1972–1983). This can be seen both as an artwork and as a hub for nurturing art and community.

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 practices, and determine how artworks circulate; it suggests how affinities – between people and practices – can help us create the shared stories that forge meaning in art.

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 and workshops in the Clore Art Studio reflect the artist’s commitment to interaction, seeing it as integral to the making of meaning: in life as in art.

'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.