Thursday, May 3, 2012


RICHARD CREME from Arts Health Cinema on Vimeo.
Huge thanks to Anthony and Christopher Donnelly for this film...
The shortlist for this year’s Turner Prize has been announced and the media will be primed to shine a light on the art establishments pick of the crop for beatification. Its always interesting: occasionally kick-starting serious debate, but more often than not, polarizing tabloid opinions on what is ‘good’ art. But if we look a bit closer to home and don’t get too bogged down in a Stuckist approach to art crit, its possible to experience art that’s revelatory, that doesn't come from the establishments avant guard or the ghetto of  over sentimentalised ‘outsider’ art. Witness the crowds that gathered to attend the opening of RICHARD CREME at the Manchester School of Art Link Gallery.

Exhibition Catalogue available by clicking on image
The opening on Tuesday evening saw the most diverse group of people coming together to celebrate the arrival on the art scene of Richard Creme. The exhibition which runs until the 11th May showcases a body of work that has emerged from the Manchester design icon, following his stroke in 2007, and plots the trajectory of a man who, following this health crisis, is honing his skills and pursuing his very personal aesthetic through meticulous draughtsmanship.

His work is individual and challenging: often humorous - sometimes dark, but consistently bursting with a singular vision. Describing and critiquing a show like this is challenging, after all I’ve been involved with it from the beginning, and the work selected was made from a huge body of work. So I don’t want to give too much of my own opinion - come and judge it for yourselves. What I would say, is that although this story is about a man overcoming serious ill-health, it’s neither sentimental, cloying or in the slightest bit patronizing. This is about life beyond stroke…and yes, Richard has turned to creating and making sense of the world because of his life experience, but for those of us interested in art and culture, he shows us something new: exposes us to the possibility of moving beyond labels and illness. He does this with a sublime aesthetic, which only makes for a deeper understanding of the artist, and the potency of the arts.

It would have been easy for an organisation like Arts for Health to see the chance to work with Richard as some kind of ‘research’ opportunity, or else lay it on with a trowel, how the arts impact on well-being. We don’t need to do that. The artist tells the story eloquently - this is a man who is flourishing. I hope that Richard Creme experiments even more wildly with some of the ideas he is beginning to share. 

Curation of the exhibition was by Elisa Artesero and Roger Bygott to whom I’m immeasurably grateful. Alongside the sponsors and volunteers who supported the event, they have enabled the public launch of a startling and unique voice to emerge in the arts. The Stroke Association and in particular, Chris Larkin have been a pleasure to work with: professional, proactive and unfailing in their support of the artist.
What is essentially a modest exhibition in scale, is made up for in the sheer quality of the work, evidenced by the sale of much of the exhibition. With philanthropists, artists, architects, designers, poets, musicians, DJ’s and Hacienda ‘alumni’, this launch emphasised that we were in the presence of a burgeoning talent, worthy of plaudits beyond simple commercial media baubles.