Last night was the opening of this exhibition at Horsfall in Manchester, I was co curating the project with Lisa Risbec and the whole Pool Arts team. As always with Pool Arts, expect the eclectic unexpected.
Taking Blake’s poems, his life and his influence and creating new works from the perspective of 2019 Manchester was a challenge that Pool Arts met in characteristic thoughtful fashion. Covering themes from romantic pastoral mythology to nuclear war, from presentation using passages of poetry to an abstract painting of a tiger. Pool Arts research involved listening to his epic Milton whilst doodling imagery, listening to expert Naomi Billingsley at ThecWhitworth, exploring YouTube documentaries and poring over original prints at John Rylands library. Pool Arts chose to explore the history by responding to Blake through their own work and looking at what parallels they found in their own lives.
Another Adele added the magical ingredient of performance that is becoming something of a regular feature at Pool Arts shows. Adele read the corresponding poem for each art work, walking through the exhibition and interacting with the audiences questions. This really brought the show together in a very Blakeian manner as he himself would perform his poems - often singing them aloud.