Manchester Art Gallery

Facing East: Recent Works from China, India and Japan from the Frank Cohen Collection

Ten rarely-shown works by artists from China, India and Japan.

Manchester Art Gallery
Thursday 4 February 2010–Sunday 11 April 2010

Facing East featured outstanding contemporary paintings and sculptures drawn from one of the largest and most important, privately held contemporary art collections in the UK today.

Highlights included a life-size baby elephant with skin made entirely of bindis by London-born, New Delhi-based artist Bharti Kher and Gilded Head (2007), a huge fibreglass head by Ravinder Reddy, one of India’s most celebrated contemporary artists. Suspended fibreglass figures by He An inspired by kung fu fight scenes from The Matrix feature alongside Between Men and Animal (2005), an oil painting of laughing, mocking faces by internationally recognised Chinese artist Yue Minjun.

The exhibition was also a chance to see London Mayfair House (2006), an artist’s studio installed in the gallery by celebrated Japanese artist Yoshitomo Nara, which visitors could walk up to to view the artist’s drawings, as well as traces of the artist at work including art materials and other paraphernalia. Prolific Japanese artist Takashi Murakami is also represented with his vibrant painting Army of Mushrooms (2003) and a sculpture Kitagawa- Kun (2002).

Frank Cohen’s art collection

Sometimes called the ‘Saatchi of the North’, Frank Cohen is one of the most important art collectors in the UK today. His collection of contemporary art contains over a thousand works by major international artists, as well as works from emerging contemporary artists.

This exhibition, curated by David Thorp, provided an exciting opportunity to see highlights from the Collection by a group of carefully selected artists from Asia.

Cohen is widely known as one of the most influential collectors of international contemporary art, with a reputation for staying ahead of the trends in the contemporary art market. He has been collecting contemporary British art for over 30 years, and more recently has taken an interest in the work of up-and-coming artists from China, India and Japan.

Since 1997, Frank Cohen’s art collection has been his full-time occupation. In 2003 Cohen was a judge on the panel for the Turner Prize. In 2007 he opened Initial Access, an exhibition space to present works from his collection to the public. Works from the Frank Cohen Collection have also previously been shown at Tate, the Guggenheim, New York and the Art Institute of Chicago.

Cohen appeared on BBC2’s recent reality-tv art show School of Saatchi, helping Charles Saatchi to select one artist to join his next major exhibition and be offered their own studio for three years. Cohen was sitting on an esteemed selection panel, alongside artist Tracey Emin, critic and broadcaster Matthew Collings and Barbican curator Kate Bush.

Visitors to Facing East could also enjoy another superb exhibition of contemporary artworks showing at the gallery. Three remarkable sculptures by the popular Australian artist Ron Mueck were shown simultaneously as part of ARTIST ROOMS on Tour with The Art Fund.

Butterfield is delighted to support Facing East and London Mayfair House by Yoshimoto Nara.