Matthew Darbyshire: an exhibition for modern living

Matthew Darbyshire: an exhibition for modern living
Library Shelf Location 18.DARB
Publication Date 2015

Published on the occasion of the exhibition at Manchester Art Gallery
Friday 25 September 2015–Sunday 10 January 2016. This major exhibition by British contemporary artist Matthew Darbyshire is the artist’s largest solo public exhibition to date and includes ten of his large-scale environments from the last decade, as well as new sculptural works for the Gallery’s grand 19th century entrance hall.

Darbyshire’s work critically examines the language of design, sculpture and our relationship to lived environments. The artist explores the concept of collecting, not only in terms of an institutional critique, but also the way we amass objects for the home, shop or office and what these objects say about us. These ideas are explored in Darbyshire’s work that gives the exhibition its title, An Exhibition for Modern Living (2011). A highlight of British Art Show 7, this work is inspired by the landmark 1949 exhibition of the same name at the Detroit Institute of Arts. The 1949 exhibition collected the best of modern ‘design for living’ in the context of the rapidly changing society of post-Second World War America. The show set an example of how design could be made available for the masses and achieved legendary status due to the site-specific custom room installations. At Manchester Art Gallery, Darbyshire will present a contemporary equivalent that is somewhat more anxious than the 1949 exhibition, presenting an environment packed with objects varying from valuable collectors’ pieces and handmade sculptures to readily available high street items. The work succinctly questions the political and economic agendas that inform our taste and value judgements today.

While the work An Exhibition for Modern Living examines the nature of how and why individuals collect, Oak Effect (2012) addresses how museums and galleries acquire artworks. For this piece, Darbyshire displays original wooden objects in a room made from contemporary pieces of flat-pack furniture. The artist has re-worked this installation with curators and conservators at the gallery to present a diverse range of hand-made artefacts fashioned from natural wood from the city’s collections, challenging us to think about the provenance and display of our collections in a very different way.

ISBN 9780901673893
Quantity 1
Pages 116
Format A4 spiral bound
Publisher Manchester Art Gallery
Related Artist Matthew Darbyshire
Categories Sculpture, Installation
Keywords Furniture, Interiors, Modernism, 20th century design, domestic objects, motifs, Museum display, Collections

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