Alchemy artists at the Manchester Museum


From Britarch:

Alchemy Artists At The Manchester Museum

Alchemy is The Manchester Museum’s first sustained research programme for artists, supporting artists to work with Museum collections and access University expertise in the creation of new work. Alchemy will be launched on 24 February with an exhibition revealing the connections between the five selected artists – Jordan Baseman, Jacob Cartwright & Nick Jordan, Ilana Halperin and Jamie Shovlin – and the Museum’s collections. As much concerned with the process of discovery, as the presentation of a final outcome, Alchemy aims to reinvigorate Museum displays, encourage diverse approaches and present alternative voices through an exciting programme of exhibitions, talks and events developed through the artists’ continuing research. The progress of the Alchemy programme will be kept updated on the Alchemy website

Jordan Baseman’s current research investigates ideas around contemporary portraiture and narrative structure. At the Museum Baseman is interested in developing new video works and screenplays that combine the factual with the anecdotal. Baseman hopes to work with University academic disciplines such as Visual Anthropology to explore his own methods of investigation and representation and to collaborate with the Museum’s Herbarium, which is home not only to a collection of nearly one million specimens of mosses, flowering plants and fungi, but a large and lively team of enthusiastic volunteers and curators.

Jacob Cartwright & Nick Jordan are artists based in Manchester and recently published a collaborative book Alien Invaders: a guide to non-native species of the Britisher Isles (Book Works, 2006). Their ongoing collaborative works draw upon cultural and natural history, with an emphasis on folklore, anecdote, myth, and associated artefacts. Their interest in manipulating disparate elements, seeking out unusual conjunctions, potential scenarios and unanticipated narratives, correlates with The Manchester Museum’s own collections – being the only university museum to cover both the natural and the cultural world.

Ilana Halperin’s work explores the relationship between geological phenomena and daily life. Whether boiling milk in a 100 sulphur spring or celebrating her birthday with a landmass of the same age, Halperin’s work is directly informed by the geological history and environmental situation specific to the locale in which she works. Halperin’s Alchemy Fellowship will offer her the opportunity to work with the Museum’s geology and paleontology collections and with the people who study, care for and collect these specimens. Halperin also hopes to take part in the University’s school of Earth, Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences fieldtrips.

Jamie Shovlin examines and questions the underlying structure, systems and devices that define the passing of information from source to viewer. With specific emphasis on the tension between reality and fiction, Shovlin’s work attempts to open to interrogation the seemingly authoritative nature of the archive. At The Manchester Museum Shovlin will initiate his research by looking into the parallels, and the contrasts, between the Museum’s historical collections and their methods of acquisition and the potential avenues of acquisition available today.

Bryony Bond, Alchemy Curator, at The Manchester Museum has said “The selected artists open a wealth of opportunities for new avenues of research at the Museum and University. All the artists bring entirely fresh and personal perspectives to the subject areas and disciplines they’re fascinated in; qualities that are sure to result in some exciting debates and great work being produced.” Nick Merriman, Director of The Manchester Museum said “I am delighted that we have selected such a strong group of people for these Fellowships. They are far more than the normal artist’s residency because of their focus on research. Because of this, The Manchester Museum, part of the University of Manchester, is an ideal location for them.”


The Manchester Museum will officially launch the start of the Alchemy Fellowships with an exhibition of past work by the selected artists. The exhibition, Alchemy Artists, will open to press at 3pm to 5pm on Friday 23rd February when the artists will be available for interview. A Private View will be held at 6.30pm to 8pm on Friday 23rd February.
OR       Bryony Bond: Alchemy Curator
0777 613 0902 / 0161 275 8789/

Background information:

Jordan Baseman is currently the Reader in Time Based Media at Wimbledon College of Art, University of the Arts, London, and is also a Lecturer at the Royal College of Art Sculpture School. Baseman has a long history of carrying out projects in collaboration with various public institutions.  These have included residencies and commissions for: Papworth Hospital (Heart and Lung Transplant Unit), Cambridge, The Science Museum, London, Grizedale Arts, London Arts, Camden Arts Centre, The Serpentine Gallery, Book Works, National Sculpture Factory (Cork, Ireland), British School at Rome, the Wellcome Trust, London, and The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Baseman received a BFA from Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and an MA from Goldsmith\’s College, University of London.

Jacob Cartwright & Nick Jordan recently published a collaborative book Alien Invaders: a guide to non-native species of the Britisher Isles (Book Works, 2006). Other recent exhibitions & projects together include: Godwottery, Transition Gallery, London; The Last Picture Show, Undergrand, Clitheroe; The Goose Fair, Castlefield Gallery, Manchester;  Some Mild Peril, publication; Pointless Cinema, The Chateau, Glasgow.  Individually they have exhibited work internationally, including at: Lieu d\’Art et Action Contemporain (LAAC), Dunkerque, France; Kunstmuseum, Bonn, Germany; Filmhaus, Nuremberg, Germany; Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona (CCCB); Cinéma l\’Entrepôt, Paris, France; National Museum of Fine Arts, Havana, Cuba; Northern Centre for Contemporary Art, Darwin, Australia; Kunsthalle Palazzo, Basel, Switzerland; John Moores, Liverpool Biennial.
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Alchemy Artists will open to the public on Saturday 24th February and continue until 29th April.

For further information, or images, please contact:
Corinne Leader: Press and Marketing Officer
0161 306 1584/
OR       Bryony Bond: Alchemy Curator
0777 613 0902 / 0161 275 8789/


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