Bill Balaskas public commission

Bill Balaskas public commission

422 Arts

October 25, 2023
Bill Balaskas public commission
422 Arts
422 Stockport Road
Manchester M12 4EX
United Kingdom

422 Arts will commission artist Bill Balaskas to create a permanent building front installation for its iconic 19th-century building. The Manchester-based community arts organisation chose Balaskas through a multi-phased open call process engaging local community members and a professional jury including Dr Marianna Tsionki (Curator, Leeds Art University) and Nicola Hood (Contemporary Art Curator, Harris Museum) alongside 422 Arts Director, Or Tshuva. The organisation expects to unveil the new work in spring 2024.

422 Arts operates in a recently restored Victorian building located in one of Manchester’s most ethnically diverse areas. The building has gone through various phases since its opening in 1851 as one of the first free public libraries in the UK. In the 1980s and 1990s, it was better known as the Longsight Youth Centre, followed by over a decade-long closure before reopening in 2021 as the 422 Community Hub. Stockport Road is one of the city’s busiest transportation arteries connecting south Manchester to the city centre, with over 20,000 people passing in front of the 422 Arts building every day.

422 Arts Director Or Tshuva said: “We are thrilled to be working with Bill Balaskas and thank all our neighbours, volunteers and curatorial advisors who participated in the selection process. Bill is a renowned artist and educator, whose works were exhibited in multiple public spaces and internationally acclaimed museums, and we are truly honoured to collaborate with him on this exciting project. After meeting residents and learning about our neighbourhood, Bill put together a thoughtful proposal that celebrates the history and architecture of our building and allows our community to be meaningfully engaged in its creation process.” 

Artist Bill Balaskas said: “I am deeply honoured to have been selected for this commission directly by the members of a truly vibrant and diverse community. I am looking forward to working with people across Longsight and Ardwick, and with 422 Arts staff over the next few months to create a work that will encapsulate the spirit of the community and the rich social history of the neighbourhood.”

Bill Balaskas (b. 1983, Thessaloniki, Greece) is an artist, theorist, and educator working between London, UK and Ngunnawal/Ngambri Country, Kamberri (Canberra), Australia. With initial studies in economics, he holds a PhD and an MA from the Royal College of Art. Selected exhibitions: Whitstable Biennale (2022); Stegi Onassis Foundation, Athens (2021); Stanley Picker Gallery, London (2019); State of Concept, Athens (2019); EMST National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens (2018); Kalfayan Galleries, Athens (2017); Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (2016); Centro de Arte Dos de Mayo CA2M, Madrid (2015); Les Chiroux, Liège (2015); BOZAR, Brussels (2014); John Hansard Gallery, Southampton (2014); Le CENTQUATRE, Paris (2014 ); Transmediale, Berlin (2014); TENT, Rotterdam (2014); 4th Thessaloniki Biennale (2013); Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh (2012); British Film Institute, London (2010); National Gallery of Indonesia, Jakarta (2007); and Les Abattoirs, Toulouse (2007). Selected lecture-performances and lectures: 18th Venice Architecture Biennale (2023); Australian National University, Canberra (2023); Musée du Louvre, Paris (2021); Cork Opera House (2019); Warburg Haus, Hamburg (2017); Oxford University (2014); eleventh Sharjah Biennial (2013); Tate Liverpool (2012); and Victoria & Albert Museum, London (2010). His most recent books are Fabricating Publics: The Dissemination of Culture in the Post-truth Era (Open Humanities Press, 2021), and Institution as Praxis: New Curatorial Directions for Collaborative Research (Sternberg Press, 2020). Balaskas is Director of Research, Business and Innovation at the School of Arts of Kingston University, London.

422 Arts is a Manchester-based arts organisation established in collaboration with 422 Community Hub. Its projects utilise creative practices to tackle social problems and respond to the needs and interests of its neighbourhood and its people, many of whom reflect or come from diasporic and underprivileged backgrounds. Alongside serving its local communities in Longsight and Ardwick, 422 Arts provides opportunities to the broader arts sector by delivering artist commissions, events and workshops that are accessible, engaging, and diverse.

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October 25, 2023

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