Exhibition: ‘Guernica in Manchester Re-Representation’, Working Class Movement Library, Salford.

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Working Class Movement Library,Salford

It is a rainy Wednesday afternoon in Salford. The Working Class Movement Library is full of people eager on learning more about that ‘conspiracy of Guernica’ alluded to by Herbert Southworth in his classic text Guernica! Guernica! A Study of Journalism, Diplomacy, Propaganda and History. The artist Tim Dunbar, a self proclaimed abstract painter, is going to give a talk about the two weeks that Picasso’s famous work was exhibited in Manchester and how the Guernica ‘conspiracy’ inspired him to research and even create a drawing project based in the presence of the famous painting in ‘cottonopolis’…

It was an hour full of details about how Picasso found appropriate for Guernica to be shown in Manchester, a city characterised by its working class, and how two radical students of Manchester School of Art helped for the exhibition to happen in a disused car show room in Victoria Street. Firstly, it was exhibited at the Whitechapel Gallery, London and then made the trip to the North West. It was promoted by a poster announcement by the Manchester Foodships for Spain. Moreover, the Manchester Evening News of 31st January and The Guardian of 26th January and 2nd February, reported the event which happened for the first two weeks in February 1939.

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Tim Dunbar’s Drawing (detail)

As for Tim Dunbar’s exhibition, his drawings have been informed by reference to the Manchester Foodships for Spain archive material at Working Class Movement Library and eye witness accounts of the Manchester Guernica exhibition. Dunbar is encouraging the viewer to engage with the drawing from up close. His ambition is to make us embrace the mystery that surrounded the whole story of Guernica in Manchester. After one hour of his presentation, everything becomes clearer.

*The exhibition runs until the 13th November 2015.

Nikolaos Bogiatzis

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About Nikolaos Bogiatzis

Art history; philosophy.

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