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Mark Seliger: In My Stairwell

Wendy Jones stops and stares at the famous people in the Richard Goodall Gallery

Published on November 23rd 2007.


Mark Seliger: In My Stairwell

Mark Saliger is obviously no slouch to have been able to line up this particular row of ducks.

There is a celebrity for everyone. Top-of-my-pops would be Richard Serra, but also, ladies and gentlemen, for your delectation .....we have Mick and Keith ( soon there will a prize for the photographer who hasn't photographed them). Keith costs £300 more than Mick because he is that bit more popular with the art photography buying public..... All vital stuff, whatever you say. Also Pavarotti, who, though handily dead now, and so not so photogenic one presumes, remains in the very reasonable price frame of £1,700, along with, Jeff Koons, Liam Neeson, Susan Sarandon, and many others, who as far as I know, are still alive.

Mark Saliger's stairwell looks a pretty bleak place, if it was mine I would be trying to move PDQ. And whilst it was obviously meant as a unifying link to the show, and probably a lot more than that, I found it relentless, claustrophobic. and prison-like

Speaking of frames....There's a new face on the NQ block. Dermot Leacock (Little Lever Street) with a very stylishly hung show.

This is also a sexy show, not because of the odd groups of naked contortionists, or even because of the naked Lenny Kravitz, who I found myself staring at during a slightly misty-eyed moment with two other ladies.... but because it's 'Celebrity' writ large and because there's a certain take-it-or-fukin-leave-it air about it. No soft lighting, no seductive gazing into the lens. Just this is me doing what I want.

On that Lenny Kravitz thing though, I am reminded of another opening about 100 years ago when, The Great British Art Show, came to Campfield Market, and when the Northern Quarter was just a gleam in the eye of the Northern Quarter association. I was grabbed by the inimitable, Dot Rathbone, a Manchester councillor for many years, Chair of Museums and Art Galleries, who gravelled, at me, "ere Wendy, have you seen the video of the nude dancing man?"

I went and a good irreverent time was had by all I think it's that thing called 'FUN' which sometimes seems to be in short supply at art dos. However, back to Mr. Saliger and his portrait of Johnny Knoxville , who seemed to want to be hung up (on hooks ) by his pectoral skin (I think it's faked ....but each-to-their-own I say), and Bill Murray who's dressed as a fat Elvis, loads of fun.

Only it was also a bit chilling. Mark Saliger's stairwell looks a pretty bleak place, if it was mine I would be trying to move PDQ. And whilst it was obviously meant as a unifying link to the show, and probably a lot more than that, I found it relentless, claustrophobic. and prison-like, with some brilliant exceptions.

David Byrne, riveted 3 strangers to the spot, who all declared it 'Best-in-Show ( to use a Crufts' expression). He was got up as a janitor. I have to say janitor because it's so very New York. But there's also a little warmth in it, and a prop or two, so we gathered, we fluffy-bunny brigade, and enjoyed its rays. Susan Sarandon, has turned up in her best frock, and throwing caution to the wind cast herself gloriously onto Mark's horrible stairwell floor....The things we do for Art eh?

Mark Saliger, In My Stairwell
Richard Goodall Gallery
103 High Street
Northern Quarter
Manchester M41HQ
Tue-Fri 11am-6pm, Sat 11am-4pm

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