It hasn’t been an easy 12 months for those organisations facing damaging cuts in public funding but Castlefield Gallery in Manchester has come out fighting, with a new business strategy, funding plan, website overhaul and a revised programme structure that will launch in early July.
Following a pause in programming over the last few months (a result of Arts Council’s surprise cut in funding last year) Castlefield Gallery geared up to its relaunch last week with a live artist auction that asked collectors and gallery supporters to ‘put their money where their eyes are!’ The auction (part of the gallery’s strategy to diversify income and to maximize on its wider supporter base) brought together donations by many of the artists Castlefield has worked with since the 1980s resulting in an impressive selection of lots by artists including David Shrigley, Haroon Mirza, Mark Leckey, raising a total of £32350 for the future programme.
Castlefield Gallery is a contemporary art space based in Manchester with a programme of exhibitions, new commissions and a strong commitment to artist development. The organisation has amassed a wide community of artists that look to the gallery as a resource, in terms of critical dialogue, artistic inspiration and professional guidance. The programme runs as a rolling series of exhibitions and new commissions (four per year), which identify urgent art practice and engage audiences in critical art discourse. The organisation has also taken on an important advocacy role and since its cut in funding has been active in vocalizing the vital contribution small producing organisations make to the sector.
The new programme launches in July with an exhibition of work by artist Dave Griffiths, a co-commission with moving image agency Film and Video Umbrella. The work is a reformulation of a recent online commission Babel Fiche that invited members of the public to submit video footage characterizing the time in which they live. Responding to the littering of images across the Internet, the human impulse to archive, and the play between digital and analogue technologies, Griffiths transposed the crowd-sourced video footage onto microfiche, ‘creating an imaginary media for anthropologists of the future’. The new work, filmed from the Hilton Tower (Manchester’s only real high rise), presents anthropologists surveying the microfiche against futuristic images of the Manchester landscape.
Further exhibitions in 2012 include a group show co-curated with novelist and contemporary artist Samson Kambulu that will deal with ideas around primitivism, non-Western ideas of modernity and man’s relationship to nature. The year will end with a ‘head to head’ exhibition featuring performance artist Hayley Newman and Emily Speed.
A programme of events will accompany the exhibitions throughout the year. More information to be announced – www.castlefieldgallery.co.uk. For more photos of the auction night, please visit our Facebook here.
Gill Park is Director of visual arts commissioning organisation Pavilion.
Photographs courtesy of the artists.
Published 08.06.2012 by Bryony Bond