“The First Cut” in Manchester

It was a beautiful winter’s day yesterday. A clear blue sky but, as would be expected with clear conditions, it was cold. It was difficult walking down to the station to catch the train into Manchester as the path was like an ice rink in places.

When we arrived in Manchester it was heaving. Christmas shoppers boosted by people visiting the Christmas Market. But there were so many people at the market, which covers a good part of the city centre, that it was hardly possible to move in places, so we didn’t really try to look round and headed straight over to the City Art Gallery. There’s an exhibition on there at the moment of paper sculptures and other works made from paper called “the First Cut“.

The main part of the exhibition was on the top floor of the newer part of the gallery (a modern extension to the Victorian neo-classical building) but there were also some works scattered around the other rooms amongst the Pre-Raphaelite and Victorian paintings and other works.

Entering the main exhibition gallery you walk into a forest of giant paper trees created by Manabu Hangai. You can get right in amongst them and the temptation to touch was too much for some of the many young children who were visiting. The trees are suspended from the ceiling and turn and spin around in the air currents created by people moving around and the draft from the entrance.

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There were a large number of works on display – apparently 31 artists have contributed, although I think in some cases their works are being shown at the Gallery of Costume at Platt Fields. The exhibits ranged from small sale pieces cut from a single piece of A4 paper (and one made from a Burger King bag!) up to large scale constructions and silhouettes.  There were sculptures made from books, a gun and grenade made from paper currency, pictures birds and butterflies made from maps and a carpet of flowers cut from picture books. All of the works showed great skill and plenty of imagination.

There was a lot to see, and here are a selection of the works that particularly took my eye

It was an excellent exhibition, one that will benefit from another visit.

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