Wednesday 4 February 2015

Did you get your name on a brick?

In a little diversion from my Tattooed Lady project #TheTattooedLady, I have also recently been setting up some work for the final ever Cornerhouse Projects.

Photo by Ben Page

Most people will know by now that Manchester's beloved Cornerhouse will soon be closing its doors for the last time in March. However that's not the end of the story... In the Spring HOME will be opening as a new hub of art and culture in the city. HOME is the merger of both Cornerhouse and The Library Theatre Company, so rather than Cornerhouse ceasing to exist, it's easier to say it will live on in a different form.

As a farewell to the building we have all come to know and love the gallery staff at Cornerhouse have been given the opportunity to put on the last Cornerhouse Projects exhibition. As we are all artists, performers and actors this was a great chance to do something where we could combine our talents. So, using our unique knowledge of the building we decided to explore behind the scenes, delve into Cornerhouse history as well as some urban legends surrounding the place and Full Stop, the final Cornerhouse Projects will be the result.

For my piece I wanted to say my own farewell to the building and leave a lasting mark. In a 'backstage' mini tour where we took a camera around to expose the unseen Cornerhouse, I was struck by how much I liked the exposed bricks on the back stairs. What kind of secret conversations, blistering arguments and friendly banter had those bricks witnessed over the past 30 years? (For a secret peek of what else we found on our tour read to the end)

Cornerhouse would be nothing without the staff and punters who make it what it is, and this made me want to extend the opportunity to say goodbye to all those with memories of the Cornerhouse. Doing a call out on Facebook, Twitter and an inhouse call out to staff, I collected over 200 names of people to be written onto those exposed bricks as a lasting tribute so that when we leave and the Cornerhouse is no more, our names will remain a part of the building's fabric.

Lots of people left messages about their love for Cornerhouse and I recognised and know so many of you! It was quite a memory filled day as I wrote out all the names onto the bricks...

It took me five hours and 10 paint pens to achieve as the fabulous Chris Payne documented the process in photographs. Some of the photos will be on display as part of the show, while the full set will be available to view during the exhibition on Flickr. Throughout the run anyone interested will be able to go into the 'Staff only' area at set times to find their name and maybe find a few other familiar ones too!

Full Stop: informal launch in the Cafe-bar Thursday 19th Feb 5.30-7pm
Exhibition runs until Thursday 2nd April

...and for those of you nosey people who want to know, here's the Cornerhouse the public don't usually get to see photographed as research for the Full Stop exhibition...

Pretty grotty huh? Check out Full Stop for more Cornerhouse inspired art works by talented artists ;)