Visual arts highlights at Manchester International Festival

  • 10 July 2015

Experience amazing exhibitions and artistic collaborations throughout the festival and beyond – from Gerhard Richter to Van Dyck.

Gerhard Richter and Arvo Pärt Photo Alexander Poots

Gerhard Richter and Arvo Pärt

Richter/Pärt, The Whitworth 

Free entry to all

Gerhard Richter, perhaps the world’s most famous living painter, and Arvo Pärt, the hugely influential composer, have come together to produce two new works dedicated to each other. Commissioned by Art Fund Prize for Museum of the Year winner the Whitworth, and Manchester International Festival, the exhibition sees a series of paintings shown alongside the composition, performed live at various times everyday. The choir moves among the crowd, allowing viewers to become fully immersed in this remarkable audiovisual experience.

Ed Atkins: Performance Capture, Manchester Art Gallery
Free entry to all

To celebrate the incredible amount of work that goes in to mounting the festival, Atkins has invited performers, choreographers, managers and floor staff, to take part in his digital rendering project. Each individual is invited to have their body digitally reproduced, resulting in a single amalgamated human that represents the spirit of the festival. The process is available to view at the gallery, featuring the recording set up and an enormous ‘render farm’ where digital artists work on bringing the avatar to life.

Artists in the Frame: Self-Portraits by Van Dyck and Others,

Manchester Art Gallery
Free entry to all

Van Dyck’s famous portrait – saved for the nation thanks to support from the Art Fund – forms the central focus for this survey show examining how artists have represented themselves over the last 300 years. It brings together over 20 works, featuring painting, photographs and digital pieces. 

Neck of the Woods, HOME
Prices vary

Turner Prize-winning artist Douglas Gordon has collaborated with pianist Hélène Grimaud and playwright Veronica Gonzalez Peña to bring the spirit of a wolf to life. The performance stars renowned actor Charlotte Rampling at Manchester’s cultural centre HOME, which combines two previous institutions, Cornerhouse and the Library Theatre Company.

Tree of Codes, Manchester Opera House
Prices vary

Choreographer Wayne McGregor, artist Olafur Eliasson and composer Jamie XX have joined forces to create an experimental ballet, exploring new worlds of sculptural surfaces, light, colour, and parallel narratives. The collaboration is inspired by the novel of the same name by Jonathan Safran Foer, which in turn was created by physically removing words from Bruno Schulz’s original text Street of Crocodiles. The cut-up pages present a whole new narrative, challenging the way we interact with words, physical objects and story-telling. 

Stamford Military Hospital, Dunham Massey
Free with National Art Pass

Just half an hour’s drive from the city centre, this historic Georgian house has recreated its role as the Stamford Military Hospital to celebrate the centenary, offering visitors an insight into how it cared for over 300 wounded soldiers throughout the First World War. Its impressive programme afforded it a place as Museum of the Year finalist – making it the first National Trust property to do so.

Manchester International Festival runs until 19 July 2015

Tags: What to seeMuseums and galleriesExhibitionsmuseum-of-the-year