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Speech Acts: Reflection-Imagination-Repetition

25th May 2018 - 22nd April 2019, Manchester Art Gallery
Li Yuan-chia Untitled (1994).Courtesy of the Li Yuan-chia Foundation

What do public museums collect and why? Which works become highlights, and which lie forgotten in storage? What stories emerge to frame the visitor’s encounters with the art that they see, and cloak the art that they don’t? How do these stories change over time?

Through the work of more than 40 artists, a new exhibition at the Manchester Art Gallery Speech Acts: Reflection-Imagination- Repetition considers how public museums reflect and shape our collective imagination, and examines how exhibitions can affect these shared narratives. This exhibition will show how artworks can nurture new stories if they are shown in ways beyond the limited frames of biography and identity.

Comprising more than 70 works and archival documents ranging from the 18th to the 21st Century, Speech Acts is drawn primarily from four public collections: Cartwright Hall Art Gallery, Bradford, John Rylands Library (The University of Manchester), Manchester Art Gallery and the Whitworth. It has been developed as part of, and in conversation with Black Artists and Modernism: a three-year research project led by University of the Arts London in collaboration with Middlesex University and funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. 

Speech Acts is curated by Hammad Nasar with Kate Jesson.

Manchester Art Gallery
Mosley Street
Manchester M2 3JL
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Li Yuan-chia Untitled (1994).Courtesy of the Li Yuan-chia Foundation