Thursday, 2 August 2007

The Myth of the North

During one of our lunchtime perambulations around Salford Quays recently, we took a detour into The Lowry art gallery to visit The Myth of the North. This exhibition has been described as a tongue in cheek view of stereotypical Northern life; only it isn't, it could only look tongue in cheek to anyone who believed that Coronation Street was a quaint representation of the native population of our region. Wondering around the gallery it was instructive to listen to the comments of the other viewers; they were broadly in two camps: the 'would you look at that, it's just like me mam' front room' camp; and the 'what do you think of the quality of this installation as a piece of art as opposed to somewhere for the common man to look at nostalgia' camp. Can you guess which camp I was in? It was interesting to juxtapose the Salford that L S Lowry presents in his fabulous paintings with the Salford where a waterside penthouse apartment costs around half a million pounds; I wonder what Lowry would have thought of that.

Whether you are a city slicker who thinks that Northerners are quaint, rugged types, only good for keeping whippets and populating gritty dramas or soap operas; or whether you are actually a quaint, rugged Northerner, the exhibition
is worth a visit. I for one was astounded by the range of Lowry's work that extends far beyond his matchstalk men and matchstalk cats and dogs; and actually, the installations are very good and do bring a smile to the face: you can imagine my delight at a mini-cinema complete with George Formby movie. I was particularly moved by the painting shown above that, in typically blunt Northern style, is titled The Cripples and is a stark social commentary on disability from Lowry's time.

Of course many of you will be familiar with modern Salford's clean lined architecture that will soon be the Northern base for the BBC and is already the home for many prestigious events such as last week's Salford Triathlon. Among the many spectators at the triathlon was Lisa with her trusty camera who took this picture. You can see more of Lisa's triathlon pictures, and others, here at Flickr.


Lisa said...

Turned out nice again!

Lisa said...

I get to see which of my pics have been viewed the most, and the ones that are winning so far are two shots of the elite women.
I don't suppose it's got anything to do with the fact that it's their backsides on view?! No? I didn't think so either.

Now, where's me clogs, t' whippets need walkin'.

70steen said...

Crofty thanks for the heads up about the Myth of the North. I have been quite a few times to the Lowry both to the theatre & gallery but have neglected it over the past 12 months.
I must confess to not being a great fan of old L.S. and originally saw his work in the old location on The Crescent... 'Minimalist Woman' didn't really do it for me!! However, in its new location at the Lowry Centre.. it appears there are more earlier pieces of his work and you can see how he developed his style and he has grown on me a bit more......

Lisa said...

AND I can't stop singing Matchstalk men and matchstalk cats and dogs now!
I was in the choir at junior school ( I don't think I should have admitted to that ;-) ) and we were made to sing that at every practice as well as My grandfathers clock. Which I always found upsetting a) because I didn't have a grandfather and b) cos he died in the end.
Amazing I'm so well balanced really! ;-S