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Weekly Edition - Published 05 September 2015


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Arts Festival to host specially commissioned Ikia Exhibition

A specially commissioned exhibition themed around local and international retail giant IKEA will form part of Warrington Contemporary Arts Festival 2015.  The festival returns to the Town next month for the 5th consecutive year, and new for 2015 organisers Culture Warrington are working in partnership with 'North', which will deliver an exciting new dimension to the event.

'North' is a new initiative aiming to build strength for contemporary art in the North of England. Together, Culture Warrington and North will highlight the breadth of talent within the region, as well as attracting national and international artists with support from Arts Council England.

A key focus of the partnership is a specially commissioned exhibition entitled:- 'The Dream Of Modern Living? Contemporary Artists Explore IKEA'. It will take place between Friday, 2 October and Saturday, 14 November 2015, at Warrington Museum and Art Gallery. Admission is free.

In 1987, Britain's 1st IKEA opened in Warrington. Since then, the store has found a place in the thoughts and memories of local people. Warrington IKEA is said to have the highest visitor numbers of any store in the country and allegedly the lowest spend per head, suggesting that people go not just to buy furniture but to see and to experience designs, ideas, even food from elsewhere.

Paul Carey–Kent is the curator for 'The Dream Of Modern Living?' A former editor of Art World magazine, he now writes for publications including:- 'Art Monthly', 'Frieze' and 'Photomonitor'. He has become increasingly involved in freelance curatorial projects since 2013, and currently has shows in London and Berlin as well as Warrington. Earlier this year he created:- 'The Absence of Presence' for Berloni and 'Weight for the Showing' at Maddox Arts.

Paul wanted to explore artists' reactions to IKEA as a business, lifestyle and aesthetic. Their responses range from using IKEA products as art materials to reinterpreting the furniture, from attempting to live in store to subverting the catalogue of which more than 200 million copies are printed each year. The artists are:- Guy Ben Ner, Ryan Gander, Clay Ketter, Artist Anonymous, Marie Karlberg, Joe Scanlan, Sara McKillop, Frédéric Pradeau, Mary Griffiths, David Ricakard and Stuart Hartley.

Curator Paul Carey–Kent commented:- "The Dream Of Modern Living? exhibition is going to be something very different for the Warrington Contemporary Arts Festival; and North is delighted to be working in partnership with Culture Warrington on this project. It's a show about the power of transformation in which IKEA provides the raw materials; literal and attitudinal; from which the artists set out. They get to some rather interesting places, inside and beyond the store."

The wider Warrington Contemporary Arts Festival features a full programme of cultural events, exhibitions, performances, workshops and seminars from Friday, 2 October 2015, through to Saturday, 31 October 2015, at various locations across the Town including:- Pyramid Arts Centre, The Gallery at Bank Quay House and Warrington Museum and Art Gallery, which will all become festival hubs for the event.

Festival highlights include a Cultural Crawl of host venues; Glastonbury favourite and raconteur Mik Artistik at Pyramid Arts Centre; physical theatre company Tmesis; Long Shot Micro Film Festival; Capriccio experimental music workshop; and a spooky silent disco. The full programme is available online.


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