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Point of No Return

The Whitworth Art Gallery is holding one of its best exhibitions of late and it’s just about restored my faith in the gallery.

Published on October 4th 2005.


Point of No Return

The Whitworth Art Gallery is holding one of its best exhibitions of late and it’s just about restored my faith in the gallery. See for yourself but the whole place could do with a major revamp and it seems rather odd that with all the regeneration going on in the city that this Manchester institution keeps getting overlooked. Every time I step foot in the place I just want to turn round and head back out to be totally honest. Thankfully, this latest exhibition proved me wrong.

Thomas Joshua Cooper is one of the world’s most celebrated landscape artists and point of no return (10 Sept- 4 Dec) documents his exploration of the land’s edge along the western coast of Europe and Africa, the first part of his journey to record the furthest most point of land that surround the Atlantic Ocean. On first viewing the black and white images, they seem almost homogeneous, but it’s worth reading the accompanying catalogue. It really gives Cooper’s project a greater importance that is initially apparent to the casual viewer.

It could be argued that the greatest achievement by man is either the wheel, or electricity. Cooper argues that it is the Magellan’s circumnavigation of the world. And when you think about it, you have to agree. It began the process of globalisation in which we are still encoiled and without which the human race wouldn’t have developed so dramatically. Whether we want this subsequent ‘development’ or not, I guess is a different debate completely!

Cooper endeavours to make sense of why western culture has become what it has become and when you take the time to reflect that these images may well be the places where our forebears stood to take on this new world, then the images take on a greater profundity.

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