Initiated by the Contemporary Visual Arts Network North West and guest curated by Lynda Morris the three exhibitions aim to raise the profile of artists both inside and outside the region.
The second exhibition in the series, Vol. II focuses on the body politic, landscape and urban space (from the regional to international, the personal to the political), with works presented in a range of media including ceramics, film, painting, photography, and sculpture. Previously, Modern History Vol. I explored subjects of cinema, global communications and surveillance, football and leisure, while Vol. III will address national and international, social and political issues post-1969, and features archival material, design and text-based works, alongside animation and film, crafts, drawing, painting, photography, and sculpture. While not definitive in its survey of contemporary art in the North West right now, it aims to present a microcosm of certain dialogues currently occurring in the region, articulating how these are intertwined with the world today and its pressure points.
There are two guiding strands at the heart of this series of exhibitions: the first is that artists - i.e. those, as Morris describes, with a strong moral core – have an acute ability to reveal and bring to focus the underlying forces at work behind a given historical moment. An artist’s sensibility and the visual tools at their disposal enables them to display insight in a way that is in relief to the noise that we hear in our everyday life through advertising, mainstream media and in the voices of authority that are usually the loudest in societies across the world. The second guiding principle behind Modern History Vols. I-III is that history is easily forgotten, and efforts should made to remember it, and in particular the complexity that lies behind points of tension and division.