This is a combination of a 35mm slide that I took for recording purposes and a postcard that I received from a friend Beccy Jones for a dinner party or whatever, back in the early ’90’s. A nice combination of the personal and political.
Nick Crowe and Ian Rawlinson, Project for the River Medlock 1998, bullet proof glass, audio, Oxford Road Bridge, Manchester
I used this image in lectures to demonstrate what I believed (and still do believe) is the most central and key role of the artist in public space; the other with the ability to see what cannot be seen by the everyday. When Nick Crowe and Ian Rawlinson, two artists based in Manchester, were approached by Arts Transpennine 98 for a project in central Manchester they proposed one of this most simple and effective urban project. The brief was to reconnect the City with the rivers than run in gunnels beneath Manchester; and they did in the most elegant way possible; they cut into the steel bridge, and installed glass panels so that instead of craning over these 5 foot high panels to see the river, one could just look through. Perfect, simple, elegant, and had the advantage of placing them and the work directly within all that Iain Sinclair/Alan Moore/Patrick Keiller psychogeography that was so big at the time. Beautiful.
Adolphe Vallette, The Irwell 1913 Whitworth Art Gallery
…and here’s a river in Manchester from the City’s glorious heyday, smokey in an impressionist sunset. This is in the Whitworth, I think, and of the River Irwell, of which there was an Arts Lottery funded sculpture trail (more on that later). Nick Crowe was the project manager for Rita McBride’s Arena sculpture in Salford. My father was from Manchester and this the City that he would have known, just 10 years before his birth. I’ve always had a strange attraction to the city, though I’ve spent very little time there. It’s changed a lot, but then so have most things.