Review: The First Cut

At the weekend I took a daytrip to Manchester, to remind myself of just how cool it is.  I lunched at Soup Kitchen, the kind of place in which you suspect your alter ego is living out a more nutritionally balanced, cultured and just plain funner existence than you.  After a delicious and trés affordable lunch, I headed to Manchester Art Gallery.

I took a stroll around The First Cut, an exhibition of artworks crafted from paper by 31 artists.  Alongside fearlessly romantic papercuts by crowd puller Rob Ryan, there are lots of absorbing works on show here, from the mind bogglyingly intricate to the big’n'bold.

I enjoyed playing solo eye-spy (in my head, you understand) when looking upon Andrea Mastovito’s happy-making hand cut Encyclopaedia of Garden Flowers.  I admired the huge, Halloweenesque cut outs by James Aldridge, and similarly spooky ‘city skeletons’ by Béatrice Coron, whose works are macabre and playful all at once.

I like how some of the pieces look like the products of trickery, as if some mystery or magic has been at work, like the cute and clever papercut sculptures by Peter Callesen.

And I like the clothes made from maps by Elisabeth Lecourt, which seem to be pleasingly filled with history.  I’d definitely wear one of her gorgeous paper shirts but I’d have to remember my umbrella, or just stay indoors feeling chic- at a safe distance from the fire.

The First Cut is on all the way till the end of January so you’ve got plenty of time to make it down there to see how contemporary artists and makers are realising the creative potential of paper.

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