Nicola Winstanley

Manifesto #1

Manifesto #1

Manifesto #1

My first Action:Art project Manifesto is being exhibited tonight alongside many other artists and members of the public at Airspace Gallery in The PIGDOGANDMONKEYFESTOS exhibition. 



An art manifesto is a public declaration of the intentions, motives, or views of an artist or artistic movement.

An art manifesto is something I’ve never had, or ever considered before until I began conducting this research. In the past I have just worked through my principals and noticed them as the same ones ‘manifested’ again and again. Some of these included making the audience an integral part of making the work, making the artwork readable and accessible to the general public and demonstrating that creative thought can be applied to all areas of life- and make them more valuable in the process.

One of the aims of this research was to produce an initial manifesto, to distill my ideas and give me some foundation to work on, so when I heard about The Cultural Sisters’ manifesto workshops I jumped at the chance.

manifesto web

View a plain text version HERE

This is the manifesto. And though it looks pretty innocuous compared to the manifestos it is being exhibited alongside (the design is based roughly on and NHS prescription) it is actually quite controversial. This method of creating art directly to treat social issues and the decision to make it’s intentions plain and explicit is not something artists are supposed to do. In the art world there is much value placed on art that is ambiguous and aloof  allowing engaged minds to ‘find their own meanings’. This can be a very rewarding experience for someone who knows the value of art and how to ‘read it’. But people who have had no art education and very little exposure to it are, in my experience, at a disadvantage. When a non-musician looks at a written piece of music and sees only random symbols, a musician can appreciate how it would sound in their head. One piece of paper but two massively different reactions. In the art world it is similarly frustrating for the artist and the audience when the symbols do not come to life in the heads of the audience, the entire exchange can be more nourishing and more valuable if both sides were talking the same language.

So, this manifesto is not meant to be patronising or worthy, it is written in good faith from one ordinary person to another (many others), to encourage artists to open a discussion about making art that is accessible and outward looking

perry3 Grayson Perry. The Agony in the Car Park from the series of tapestries ‘The Vanity of Small Differences’

and to encourage those who would usually consider art as ‘not for them’ to look again and talk to artists about what is important to them, what life could do with more of or less of. Lets start talking the same language and see how it goes.


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