It’s not often that I trek to The Lowry for an exhibition even though it’s a mere 30 minute walk from Chorlton but after I saw that there were FREE ORANGES I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to have a little look.
The first room on the right predominately hosts a collection of Martin Creed’s work including the infamous blue tac. Looking around the room there is a collection of everyday, household items and objects that are presented as relics and works of art. An old egg cart signed by the artist, a pyramid of oranges resembling an upscale market stall. Everyone is hesitant to touch the work, as anyone is in work that encourage audience participation.
“Can I take one?”
“Yes, but please take one from the top”
Presumably to prevent the pyramid from collapsing in front of the invigilator’s eyes. The urge not to pick one from the very bottom was overwhelming, but I respected his wishes and plucked one near the top (but not too near to satisfy my inner child) and carried on wondering round the exhibition with my newly acquired snack.
The stand out piece is Karina Smigla-Bobinski’s ADA; a post-digital drawing machine which is timidly approached by members of the public. Some standing next to it for photo opportunities, some poking the huge bomb-like ball with caution. As you touch the work you are covered in charcoal residue, and now a part of the mess and the creativity, it is easy to then throw the machine around, hitting the wall and making your mark just like hundreds did before. The work, much like the orange pyramid is always evolving as people continue to interact with it. The charcoal sticks that jut out of the helium filled ball smack against the wall creating an almighty roar in the space.
A short chat with the invigilator revealed that some people were pretty heavy handed with it, and the machine has burst on two occasions, but I can’t see this being a regular occurrence. The room, however loud the contact is between wall and machine, is a peaceful, almost zen like space and most visitors who I witnessed, treated the machine with tenderness and respect.
Overall the exhibition is fun, accessible and visually engaging. There is a lot to see and to get involved with, including a nice little lie down on a plinth. It is clear that the intention is to engage and break down the artist/audience barrier with big bold statements, yet using everyday objects that we can all recognise. Touch me, play with me, interact with me. Extraordinary indeed.
ExtraORDINARY is on until October 18.