Preview: A Horse Walks Into A Bar at Castlefield Gallery

Exhibition: A Horse Walks Into A Bar, Castlefield Gallery, Manchester, June 18 – August 8 2010

That a non-domestic animal in a pub should occasion hilarity tells us something about our relationship with nature. The proverbial horse in a bar is an old joke.

Perhaps the nine artists in this group show at Castlefield Gallery can persuade us that we should take animals more seriously, or at least supply an original punchline.

Using video, painting, photography, sculpture and performance, the show promises to work away at the boundaries between the human and non-human living worlds.

The role of animals is here considered in many spheres, such as regal portraits, mass produced imagery, the entertainment industry and myth.

Contributors include Turner-prize winning artist Mark Wallinger, who once dressed as a bear to roam the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin for one of art’s better gags.

Meanwhile two photographers on show include Corey Arnold, who worked in Alaska as a fisherman, and Richard Billingham, whose unflattering family snaps caused controversy at the Barbican in 1994.

The response from art collective UHC is also no laughing matter. They have invited 100 members of the public to get unique tattoos of the 100 most endangered species in the UK.

Other artists to feature in this intriguing bestiary include Andrew Bracey, Lorraine Burrell, Maddi Nicholson, Dan Staincliffe and Chiz Turnross. So surely one can tell us, why the long face?

Written for Culture24.

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