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February 2018, Manchester.

MICRO-TOPIA brings together a group of international artists whose work is concerned with the organisation of space and knowledge in cities and museums.

The exhibition considers the Slide Library at Manchester Metropolitan University as a ‘micro-topia’ through which to explore notions of curiosity and systems of order in relation to both abstract and literal ideas of the city. It presents the Slide Library as a type of museum in miniature within a larger institution, its relics containing worlds within worlds of visual knowledge. Although individually confined to their physical frames and isolated moments, collectively the slides transcend different spatial, temporal and social thresholds.

MICRO-TOPIA aims to provide a snapshot of the Slide Library in its current form, using it as a vehicle to consider aspects of exteriority and interiority across solid and transient structures alike. Whilst some artists have used slides from the library for their photographic qualities, others have considered their materiality as objects. There is an abstract focus on the nature of the library space itself, drawing parallels with a city space in miniature. The exhibition brings together artists from a range of disciplines, all of whom share common concerns for the curious, the urban and the spatial. 


Images from top: Sarah Louise Hawkins and Bethany Costerd Continuum, 2018; Sarah Louise Hawkins and Bethany Costerd Continuum; Matthew Bamber Slide Show, 2018; Dominika Wroblewska Concrete->abstract, excavation, 2018. All images © Frances Roddick 2018

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In April 2016 the Saatchi Gallery presented Journeys, an exhibition that showcased originally shortlisted artworks from the 2009- 2015 Saatchi Gallery Art Prize for Schools, alongside examples of the students' current practice. The exhibition tracked their journeys from secondary school art lessons to current creative enquiry in the studio, highlighting the importance of the Art Prize to young emerging talent. Many of the originally shortlisted students went on to study at art school and work as practising artists. Journeys provided them with a significant platform to showcase their creative development.

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Images from top: Lucja Jain; James Lomax installation view; Grace Wooler drawing installation; Ola Arent paintings view. All image credits © Steve White 2016