Art & Design Magazine

The First Cut, Manchester Art Gallery, England

By Theexhibitionlist @exhibitionlist
paper art, exhibition list

The exceptional Professor Macaulay takes us round the First Cut exhibition at the Manchester Art Gallery…

I was moved to write about this exhibition because it represents a point in history when it appears to be OKAY to cut up books. Is this how we value books now? Has the internet finally taken over the written word?

The exhibition saddened me but at the same time I couldn’t help but be excited by the amazing works of art produced by the exhibitors. This is a MUST SEE exhibition! Books are a source of inspiration for the 31 international artists who cut, deform, carve and shred publications. The source material ranges from discarded books, encyclopaedias, pulp fiction, classic literature, artist’s monographs, iconic books and magazines.

Here are some examples:

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Manabu Hangai’s  Enchanted Wonder Forest provides a dramatic entrance to the exhibition; the trees hang from the ceiling and move around as people walk nearby. Each paper leaf is almost a meter long and has the lace-like effect of a decomposing leaf in winter, although of course, much more colourful.

Manchester Art Gallery book flowers
Andrea Mastrovito. This impressive floor installation is a geometric garden full of foliage and flowers cut from seed and plant catalogues, which are pushed upright. The flowers covered a huge area and young children loved lying down and looking at it from floor level.

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Su Blackwell  Magnolia Tree: Hand-cut 3D book sculpture in glass case. If you look closely at the book you can see where the leaves have been cut out.

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Abigail Reynolds The Wonderful Story of London: Cut and folded bookplates in 24 parts taken from vintage photographs in second hand guide books (here is just one).

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Claire Brewster The Harbingers: Flocks of birds cut from vintage maps and atlases. The colours and patterns in the maps add to the exotic look of the birds.
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Sarah Bridgland Fotoecken 2012, this 3D piece shows typography exploding from a matchbox, each part is cut from a book or magazine.

There is lots more to see at the Manchester Art Gallery, check out their website for more information.

Location: Mosley Street, Manchester M2 3JL

Entry Fee: FREE

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