20 February 2020 to 25 April 2020

An exhibition of work looking at 'place' from staff working across courses at Manchester School of Art. Paper Geographies will be on show in the gallery at Manchester Central Library until the 25th April, when it will be followed with an exhibition of work from students responding to the themes of the project as part of X Festival. Below is an excerpt from the project statement.


Paper Geographies is an exhibition at Manchester Central Library that brings together 12 artists who use photography to explore the relationships between materiality and place. The expanded field of photography is represented by works that challenge the medium’s own specificity; including documentary and appropriated imagery, performance and sculpture, moving image, analogue processes, digital and 3D animation. This diversity of practice asks the viewer to consider how the physicality of the photographic image impinges on our sense of place in the world.

Each of the artists in Paper Geographies proposes a critical relationship to place, whether local or global, real or imagined. By foregrounding the performative act of the image - its material agency over its representational qualities - they expose the interplay between image and place. Works address locations from China, India, Europe and the UK, and themes of globalisation, home, borders, migration, trade and the Anthropocene are explored.

Visual practices of material culture have commodified space, and photography has both naturalised and constructed a highly artificial image of the Earth’s surface, often with dire consequences for its eco-systems and communities. Today, it is hard to do anything other than scratch at the surface of the world, as we rarely encounter it in an unmediated way. The artists in this exhibition playfully trespass on the construction site of the image and its ideologies. They use photography to both think about and make place. Their works collectively culminating in an index of our own lost civilization.

All the artists are connected by a specific place, each having taught at Manchester School of Art. The exhibition continues with a response by Manchester School of Art students as part of the X Festival: 30th April – 28th May.


Paper Geographies opens with a preview on Thursday the 20th February between 5 - 7:30pm, all welcome. The exhibition continues until Saturday 25th April, open Monday - Thursday, 9am - 8pm and Friday - Saturday, 9am - 5pm.


Image by Polly Palmerini



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