Art in the Park – 4

20 05 2014

Art in the Park - 4

Last month’s teaser question made reference to an artwork that has been a permanent fixture of the Whitworth’s grounds since 2009. The sight of Gustav Metzger’s striking installation Flailing Trees will be very familiar to those who travel along Oxford Road day-to-day. The road, upon which we are situated, is reportedly Europe’s “busiest bus route”, and channels those based in South Manchester into and out of the city centre for work, hospital appointments, lectures at the universities or evenings out.

Originally a commission for Manchester International Festival (hyperlink:, the work consists of 20 upended willow trees, heads plunged into a base of around 7 tonnes of concrete. It occupied a space in Manchester Peace Garden for the duration of the 2009 festival before being moved (with the assistance of a crane) down to its existing spot outside our Oxford Road entrance. It is now part of our permanent collection and is viewable through all seasons, against the changing backdrop of Whitworth Park.

Described by Metzger when speaking to the Guardian (Hyperlink: as a “protest piece,” he justifies the ‘violent arrangement’, the roots unnaturally exposed, bare and jutting towards the sky – in juxtaposition with the living lushness of the trees of Whitworth Park, as a stand against the brutality that humans display towards the natural world.

Gustav Metzger is a hugely influential artist and political activist who pioneered the concept of Auto-Destructive Art in the 1960s and the Art Strike of the 1990s. A new exhibition focusing on Metzger’s “auto-creative” work will open later this month at Kettle’s Yard (Hyperlink:

And so for our next month’s teaser question – ‘Which one-night-only park artwork was inspired by this song?’


Art in the Park – 1

24 02 2014

Art in the Park - 1a


Several artworks, including ‘Phalanx” by Mike Lyons (photo above) have permanently graced the grounds at the front of the Whitworth for many years. Periodically other works have also appeared as part of temporary exhibitions, such as Subodh Gupta’s awe-inspiring and monumental sculpture that evoked the sights and sounds of India and reflected Rusholme’s famous Curry Mile – ‘Spaceship’ was a commission for the Manchester International Festival in 2007 (see photo left).

Lawrence, a member of our VSA team has been looking at Art in the Park and making connexions between the inside and the outside:

‘Upon its construction in 1889 The Whitworth became amongst the first English galleries to be situated in a park, and our redevelopment truly reconnects the Gallery with its surroundings. Expect to see much more of the park from the inside looking out, from our new Landscape Gallery, Promenade and Cafe in the Trees. We will also be displaying large-scale artwork in our new outdoor spaces, such as the Art Garden and Orchard Garden.

In anticipation we will be posing a question each month which relates to a memorable artwork the Gallery has shown in Whitworth Park – check out the extraordinary action photograph below.

Q. Which Whitworth Park artwork is made from recycled brick and concrete from Hulme and Moss Side?’


Image credit: Martin Stalker

Keep reading the blog for the answer in a few weeks time and the next ‘Art in the Park’ question. And don’t forget you can stay tuned in to the Whitworth’s collections by reading the Whitworth ‘Work of the Week’ blog at: