The Manchester Contemporary - Booth 130
19th - 21st November, 2021
Booth concept by Kevin Hunt
Featuring works by Simon Bayliss, Caz Egelie, Aitor González and Kevin Hunt
For The Manchester Contemporary 2021, PINK is delighted to be working with artist Kevin Hunt to present an immersive booth experience and an intimate setting for a trio of Queer artists works. Conceived by Kevin during an ongoing research residency within our current home at 86 Princess Street; his booth concept acts as a scaled-down teaser for a new site-specific installation and exhibition responding to the building’s history as a former textile packing and shipping warehouse, launching in January 2022.
Historically, 86 Princess Street traded ‘greige’ (pronounced grey) cotton cloth, which refers not to its colour, but to a type of unprocessed, unfinished woven cloth that underwent many subsequent processes such as dyeing and printing. In essence the textile was in flux. Transitioning; its purpose to become something else. This industrial heritage has become a springboard for Kevin to question binary, fixed, ‘straight’ ideas - presenting a soft and colourless, transitional and malleable environment for a variety of Queer objects. A grey area…
Within the installation, Simon Bayliss’ ceramic teapots, jugs and wall-based ‘pasties’ reference aspects of South West England’s rural heritage and art history, which he playfully explores from a Queer perspective. Based in St Ives, Simon works on a potter’s wheel and decorates his ceramics with colourful clay slips and glossy transparent glazes. A new series of teapots made especially for the fair; loosely based on a design by William ‘Bill’ Marshall (Bernard Leach's right-hand man at the renowned Leach Pottery in St Ives) feature slogans in a rave-poster font, humorously inviting new conversations around identity and activism within the traditionally subdued world of studio pottery. Proposing that the ritual of brewing tea in a handmade pot is imbued with the power to effect change.
Caz Egelie’s multi-disciplinary practice plays with a game of real and fake, fact and fiction, reproduction and authenticity. References to art history and art's archetypal figures play a large role in the artist's work; which often attempts to defy categorisation by engaging in an institutional critique from the position of the ‘jester’. Resulting in what one might call 'institutional jest’. For the fair, Caz's masks and costumes (made from a diverse range of materials such as resin, fabric and 3D-printed objects) offer a view into a parallel (art) world. In this world characters and symbols are made transhistorical, archetypes take on new meanings and props from performances show the possibility of disguise, taking on a new identity and becoming whoever the wearer feels they need to be.
On closer inspection, the abstract gesture seen in Aitor González’s portfolio of doodle-like, marker pen drawings reveal an array of naturalistic motifs like animals, flowers and insects. Although their identity as natural forms isn’t entirely clear, instead, rather romantically, they are evocative of intimate emblems of the artist’s uniquely Queer perspective on the world. Several drawings presented within sloppy, sculptural enclosures disrupt the formalities of what we come to expect from works in frames. Playing with the hierarchy of the frame as a container to preserve, their uneven surfaces become extensions of Aitor’s drawings; gesture spilling from the page, embracing error, chance and free interaction between bodies and materials.
Alongside Simon, Caz and Aitor’s works; Kevin’s series of wall-based, waterjet-cut sculptures CLOSETOTHEEDGE debut at the fair; his first new sculpture since 2019 and his first works in metal. Compounded together, the phrase ‘close to the edge’ reveals other pertinent words hidden within the expression. Grappling with complex emotions like loss and repression, the works articulate the artist’s experience of the last two years via cutting up pre-existing stainless steel buffetware. Resulting in sharp objects (their original smooth edges removed) that reflect upon the complexities of the artist’s Queer identity.
Finally, an affordable, limited-edition portfolio of monotype prints by Kevin have been made especially for this year's fair. Each unique work on paper replicates the type of heavily gestured washed-out windows seen when businesses close. Re-framing this gesture as open rather than closed, the series of prints become a prototype visual for Kevin’s upcoming installation at 86 Princess Street, a symbolic motif for new beginnings, re-emergence and change. Working in collaboration with CBS framing, a bespoke, custom-built frame furthers this dialogue, containing one of the prints within a window-like structure, itself partially washed-out by the framers. These custom frames, tailored to suit each individual print, are available to order at a specially discounted price for the duration of the fair.
Kevin Hunt is a Liverpudlian artist and lecturer (born 1983) living and working in Salford/Manchester.
His pronouns are He/Him/His
Simon Bayliss (born in Wolverhampton in 1984 and raised in Andros, Bahamas, then East Devon, UK) is an artist and music producer that has been living in Cornwall most of his adult life.
His pronouns are He/Him/His
Caz Egelie (born 1994 in The Hague) is an artist, curator and teacher based in Utrecht, Netherlands.
His pronouns are He/They/Them
Aitor González is a Quechua/Spanish artist born in Valencia, Spain (1994) who lives and works in London.
His pronouns are He/Him/His