Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Tea Time ; Sarah Walters Visits Lee Mingwei's Unusual New Exhibition

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Tea Time ; Sarah Walters Visits Lee Mingwei's Unusual New Exhibition

Article excerpt

BUILD a living room anywhere, with fresh tea and coffee on the go, and people will come.

It's the experience that Lee Mingwei has learnt since he was first commissioned by New York's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum to create a domestic parlour in the middle of the gallery.

Now, he's brought the concept to the Chinese Arts Centre, where he's taken over the new Project Space with The Living Room - a huge contrast to his main gallery show Quartet, which features four speakers playing in a blackened room that create a soundtrack influenced by the visitors in the space.

The two shows, then, share a thematic link of interaction but offer quite different gallery experiences.

Far from Quartet's spooky surroundings, Living Room is a cosy experience about collecting. 'Hosts' of collectors - from knitting enthusiasts to a lady who catalogued the objects left in her late- grandmother's home - will occupy the space on a rota and sit in the space to talk to visitors about their items.

"People who wouldn't have met otherwise get to have an intimate conversation with each other in this living room setting," says programmer Elizabeth Wewiora. "It's a very familiar and comfortable setting.

"We have a rolling timetable of hosts - who do three days each - and the collections range from films and film reels to trinkets, ornaments and postcards. …

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