Lisson Gallery

Programme announced for Chester Contemporary curated by Ryan Gander and featuring work by John Akomfrah

7 August 2023

Running from 22 September to 1 December 2023, Chester Contemporary is a major new visual arts event with a core programme curated by Chester-born artist Ryan Gander. As part of a larger initiative led by Cheshire West and Chester Council, the Contemporary seeks to revitalise the visual arts scene in Chester, establishing the city as a hub for bold and ambitious visual art and artists.

Established artists, emerging talent, and the city’s people have been invited to make and show work for Chester’s unique places and spaces, inspired by the theme ‘Centred on the Periphery’ – an exploration of how places on the edges of the centre, often just out of sight of the mainstream, can become the primary focus.

The full programme, announced today, features John Akomfrah presenting his ground-breaking film Mnemosyne (2010), a haunting exploration of myth, memory and migration, at the Grosvenor Museum, alongside work presented across the city by Fiona Banner, Simeon Barclay, Jacq Bebb, Fischli & Weiss, Tim Foxon, Hannah Perry, Elizabeth Price and more. Gander has created three new interventions for the city: a permanent reminder of Chester Contemporary in the form of an original tattoo; a new Ryan Gander cocktail, the Cestrian Ya-Ya; and a brand new flag for the Contemporary, which can be seen flying over the Lady Diana boat on the River Dee

The exhibitions will be accompanied by a social engagement and schools' programme, bringing nine artists together with ten primary schools across the city to create work that will be shown as part of the Contemporary.

Artist Director Ryan Gander, OBE RA said: “I think most of us see the world in one of two ways; either as participants or observers. ‘Participants’ find themselves in a world in which they act and interact, from a first-person point of view, and consider themselves, their thoughts and actions to be integral to the unfolding plot. ‘Observers’, however, consider themselves to be merely an onlooker, whose experience, thoughts and perspective are excluded from the over-arching narrative... The artworks and interventions by the participating artists call into question the conformist unquestioned rhetoric of the centre that we are all fed. The centre is located wherever the action is happening, wherever you are. The centre is wherever you make it.

Find further information via Chester Contemporary.

Shown here: John Akomfrah, Mnemosyne, 2010 (film still), Single channel HD colour video, 5.1 sound, 45 minutes 6 seconds © Smoking Dogs Films

Programme announced for Chester Contemporary curated by Ryan Gander and featuring work by John Akomfrah
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