Manchester Art Gallery, Mosley St, Manchester M2 3JL
Wednesday - Sunday, 11am-4pm.
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Jade Montserrat Future Collect Commission at Manchester Art Gallery
Opening on 22 October 2020
We are delighted to announce the forthcoming opening of Constellations: Care and Resistance, which showcases the first physical iteration of Jade Montserrat’s creative response to Manchester Art Gallery’s collection through an evolving mood board of artworks and ideas. Montserrat is in the process of creating a number of new works for her Future Collect commission, encompassing performance, works on paper and a publication, which explore questions of care in relation both to objects and to people and engage with the context of Manchester Art Gallery, its collection and collecting practices. While her access to Manchester Art Gallery’s collection has been hampered by the challenges of Covid-19, Montserrat has worked closely with Future Collect curatorial trainee Nikita Gill to select her own existing works to present alongside works from the collection that resonate with the concerns and aesthetics of her practice.
In Montserrat’s works we encounter eyes and mouths potent with expression, and text pieces recalling fragments of memory and emotion, where the implications of erasure are juxtaposed with the physical presence of vibrant colour, the yellow glow of happiness exposed as troubled and messy. Speaking to her pieces are a selection of works from Manchester Art Gallery’s collection, including Some questions about us (2019) by Mark Titchner, a series of text-based risographs produced for the Mental Health and Justice project at Bethlem Hospital, and Have you ever (1986) by Claudette Johnson, a drawing of a nude black female figure.
In addition, video extracts from Act 1: Ira – Curiosity and Creative Language, an online webinar which took place in May 2020 will add to the voices in the room. Montserrat was in conversation with creative practitioners from the North West in a discussion focused on questions of belonging, language and curiosity in relation to James Northcote’s painting of the African American actor Ira Aldrige, Ira Aldridge as Othello, The Moor of Venice (1826), the first work acquired by Manchester Art Gallery.
New works produced by Jade Montserrat through the commission will replace the older pieces as the space evolves over the coming months.
Jade Montserrat is a research-led artist and writer who studied the History of Art at the Courtauld Institute of Art and Drawing (2003) and at Norwich University of the Arts (2010). Montserrat works at the intersection of art and activism through drawing, painting, performance, film, installation, sculpture, print and text. The artist interrogates these mediums with the aim to expose gaps in our visual and linguistic habits. Jade is the recipient of the Stuart Hall Foundation Scholarship which supports her PhD (via MPhil) at The Institute for Black Atlantic Research, University of Central Lancashire, (Race and Representation in Northern Britain in the context of the Black Atlantic: A Creative Practice Project) and the development of her work from her black diasporic perspective in the North of England. She was also awarded one of two Jerwood Student Drawing Prizes in 2017 for ‘No Need for Clothing’, a documentary photograph of a drawing installation at Cooper Gallery DJCAD by Jacquetta Clark. Jade’s ‘Rainbow Tribe’ project – a combination of historical and contemporary manifestations of Black Culture from the perspective of the Black Diaspora is central to the ways she is producing a body of work, including ‘No Need For Clothing’ and its iterations, as well as her performance work ‘Revue.’ Jade was commissioned to present Revue as a 24 hour live performance at SPILL Festival of Performance, (2018), a solo exhibition at The Bluecoat, Liverpool, (2019) and was commissioned by Art on the Underground to create the 2018 Winter Night Tube cover.
Image: Jade Montserrat, Pulse (2017). Watercolour on paper.