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 festival is just a couple of weeks away now, so make sure you are adding these dates to your diary – 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.

The schedule has now been released, and there is loads to do, including kicking back at Festival Square, or ringing bells at the Opening night. The city will be full of creativity (more than usual) so where do you begin? How do you know what’s what? Where to be and when? Well, that is where we come in!

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

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 July-29 Sep, Free


By Artist Ibrahim Mahama at Whitworth Art Gallery

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 Skyliner – walking tour

Manchester’s leading art and culture tour guide Skyliner, hosts a walking tour which focuses on women who’ve made waves throughout arts and culture in the city. She discusses artists, poets, theatre pioneers, and more, including ‘the world-famous musician living in an inner-city squat to the woman whose death drew thousands to a local museum.’ This walking tour covers 200 years of female contributions to the arts in Manchester.

13 July, £10


By artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer at the 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


At Manchester Central Library

Major artist Kemang Wa Lehulere will be joining MIF as an artist in residence, creating new work that will be on display at Manchester Central Library. The south african artist will be exploring and researching Manchester’s libraries. This commissioned piece will ‘look ahead to future Festivals and the opening of The Factory.’ But there are more details to be announced.

Dates unclear but I image 4-21 July


By Chim Pom and curated by Contact Young Curators

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

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

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

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.”

Tickets are selling fast, so make sure you get yours sorted. For full details on these events head to the Manchester International Festival site.

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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