Art at MIF 19

All the Visual Art of Manchester International Festival 2019

We’re pretty excited here in the Cotton On MCR office about the launch of Manchester International Festival! There is so much on, we know we’re going to love it – and we’re also going to be extremely busy – so bring it on!

The main festival dates are 4th – 21st July. MIF19 will be packed with a mix of art forms, music, dance, theatre and visual art. Huge artists have already been announced including Idris Elba, Maxine Peake (doing it for Manchester) and Janelle Monáe.

Festival Square

MIF Artistic Director and CEO John McGrath has said: “For MIF19, we’re bringing leading visual artists from across the globe to Manchester, to create an extraordinary range of new work. The Festival also has strong local roots, with several commissions featuring the people of Manchester as participants. These artists are asking important questions about the world today, and offering fresh perspectives, which will, I believe, excite, intrigue and stimulate debate.”

As there is so much happening, we thought we’d make it easy for you to find the visual art elements of the festival – because that is what we do! Find below a run-down of the exhibitions, art pieces and installations that are part of this years Manchester International Festival! Enjoy!


By artist David Lynch at HOME mcr

David Lynch at HOME mcr

Head to HOME mcr to see the work of the legendary director David Lynch. Alongside work in the theatre and cinema, Lynch will be presenting works in the gallery space, named ‘My Head Is Disconnected.’ This is the first major exhibition Lynch has held in the UK, and it will feature a mix of drawings, paintings and sculptures. HOME mcr will be dedicated to this artist’s work for the duration of the festival, which gives you an insight into the artist’s mind and workings.

6-21 July, Free


By Artist Ibrahim Mahama at Whitworth Art Gallery

Ibrahim Mahama at Whitworth

Using worn out train seats, abandoned objects, old school cabinets and scraps, artist Ibrahim Mahama builds a huge parliamentary chamber in the centre of Whitworth Art Gallery. The work here explores the forgotten history of Mahama’s native country, Ghana. ‘Parliament of Ghosts’ is his first UK show, commissioned by MIF. This monumental installation, which also includes documents from government archives, sits alongside a seven-channel film installation.

5-21 July, Free


By artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer at the Science and Industry Museum

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer at Science and Industry Museum

A new, immersive installation named ‘Atmospheric Memory’ will be held at the Manchester Science and Industry Museum during MIF19. Mexican-Canadian artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer has created a series of ‘atmospheric machines’ that will use some crazy, state-of-the-art technology to transform the audiences voices and words into something that can be seen and touched! This was developed following a statement from computer pioneer Charles Baggage, who said ‘the air is a vast library, holding every word ever spoken.’ This exhibition is Lozano-Hemmer’s way of attempting to materialise sound.

6-21 July, £5-£8


By Chim Pom and curated by Contact Young Curators

Chim Pom – Secret Location

This one, we’re not too sure if it comes under the bracket of ‘visual art’, we think it’s an installation, but we actually have no idea! However, it does include one of our other passions – beer! So we thought we’d add it to the list anyway!

‘The Drunk Pandemic’ stems from the history of Manchester’s cholera epidemic in the 1830s. It is said that thousands of people died and were buried in cholera pits, but many survived as they drank beer, instead of the infected water! This is the first major UK project by Japanese artist Chim Pom. The blurb says ‘Tour the secret brewery, try the beer, check out the special events – and expect the unexpected…’

So watch this space!

Secret location, 5-21 July, TBC


Lead by artist Sibiylle Peters at Whitworth Gallery and Whitworth Park

Animals of Manchester at Whitworth Gallery

This live art experience explores what life would be like if animals lived amongst us, not as pets, but as equals. ‘Animals of Manchester (Including HUMANZ)’ is lead by German artist Sibylle Peters, but includes a huge mix of work by other artists and contributors. Expect installations, performances, films and trails. Works include ‘Mouse Palace’, ‘Conference of Animals’ and ‘Life Art Library.’ Head to Whitworth Art Gallery and walk the trail through Whitworth Park to encounter this interactive altered universe.

20-21 July, Free


By artist Laurie Anderson at Royal Exchange Theatre

Laurie Anderson at Royal Exchange Theatre

Head to The Royal Exchange Theatre to see the work of Laurie Anderson. The creative pioneer has created an installation and virtual reality piece, inspired by the first moon landing, 50 years ago. This interactive art was developed alongside artist Sin-Chien Huang. It also gives the audience a chance to experience the type of work Anderson will be creating for her premier at The Factory, which opens in 2020.

11-20 July, TBC

For full details on these events head to the Manchester International Festival site.

There are more details emerging, and possibly more acts to be announced. We will update this page as and when we here more, so keep checking back!

If you fancy attending any of these exhibitions and events, and fancy writing a review for us, let us know! Check out out Get Involved page and get in touch!

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