Constellations presents a series of artworks that reflect impermanence and movement.

By Matthew Tyas | Last updated 2 June 2011

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Constellations presents a series of artworks that reflect impermanence, ephemerality and movement.  Featuring internationally acclaimed artists Kitty Kraus, Takahiro Iwasaki, Katie Paterson and Felix Gonzalez-Torres, each of the artists are interested in ideas of fluidity and flux, creating a shifting landscape that evolves and changes over time. Constellations presents an active exhibition that is never static or fixed in its presentation but continually offers different perspectives of the work on every visit.
Constellations runs at Cornerhouse, Manchester from 25 June until 11 September and admission is free.

The exhibition includes Kitty Kraus’ Untitled, a hauntingly beautiful work in which ice, infused with black ink, gradually melts on the gallery floor leaving behind pools of murky liquid that spread in patterns around which viewers must weave their way; and the first UK showing of Katie Paterson’s 100 Billion Suns, a special confetti cannon which will be fired once daily, blasting out 3216 tiny pieces of paper, the colours of which correspond to Gamma Ray bursts – the brightest explosions in the universe. Each second-long explosion creates a miniature version of these vast cosmic events. Paterson is also exhibiting her celebrated Earth-Moon-Earth, which involves the transmission of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata to the moon and back.

The sculptural landscapes of Takahiro Iwasaki’s work made delicately from cloth, tape and wood, construct the undulating contours of mountain ranges forming and changing over an eternity. The unstable existence of the work means it will settle and shift over the duration of the exhibition, swayed and disturbed by air-flow through the space and the movement of people. Untitled poster stacks by the acclaimed artist Felix Gonzalez-Torres are an endless supply of takeaway posters depicting the sea, inviting the audience to remove the work until nothing is left. Here Gonzalez-Torres uses the sea as a metaphor for transience, time and travel. Water appears throughout all of Gonzalez-Torres’ major bodies of work – the image is a reflection not only of the literal, transient nature of travelling from one place to the other, but more importantly captures the essence of a moment.

At the core of the exhibition is the idea of a constellation not as something fixed, but an organic, evolving grouping with chaos and chance at its core. It is curated by Karen Gaskill and Michelle Kasprzak.

Kitty Kraus was born 1976 in Heidelberg, Germany. She uses materials and physical processes in her sculptures and installations in unexpected ways. Frieze Magazine recently described her work as appearing to ‘strive toward being invisible, but they’re reluctant to leave no trace at all.’ She has had solo exhibitions in galleries including Galerie Neu, Berlin and Guggenheim Museum, New York. Kraus lives and works in Berlin.

Takahiro Iwasaki was born in 1975 in Hiroshima, Japan. He has exhibited internationally, including at Cornerhouse in Bloomberg New Contemporaries in 2005. He is best known for his installations made with mundane materials: rubbers, pencil leads, blankets and towels, which acquire the scale of mountain ranges, telephone poles and even characters. The meditative care the artist takes enables him to blur the boundaries between the banal, the real and the wonderful. Iwasaki lives and works in Hiroshima, Japan.

Katie Paterson was born in Scotland in 1981 and trained at the Slade, London. Paterson’s artistic practice is multi-disciplinary, cross-medium, and conceptually driven, often exploring landscape by means of technology, and connectivity by way of moonlight, melting glaciers, and dead stars. She has exhibited in solo shows at Matthew Bown Gallery, Albion and Modern Art Oxford and has shown internationally in group exhibitions. Paterson lives and works in Berlin and Glasgow.

Felix Gonzalez-Torres (1957- 1996) was an acclaimed American, Cuban-born artist whose work is seen internationally, including at the Whitney Museum and the Museum of Modern Art New York. Gonzalez-Torres is best known for his quiet, minimal installations and sculptures, made using materials such as strings of light bulbs and clocks. Many of his installations invite the viewer to help themselves to a piece of the work: to take wrapped sweets from a pile in an exhibition space, or a piece of paper from stacks of copies of printed sheets.

Constellations runs at Cornerhouse at the same time as the exhibition Magda Archer: Crazy Mad (closing on 7 August). Both exhibitions will be showing at the same time as Manchester International Festival which runs at venues throughout Manchester from 30 June – 17 July 2011 (

Katie Paterson’s confetti cannon will be firing at 18:00 and 19:30 on the preview night, and during the course of the exhibition at 19:00 on weekdays and 14:00 at weekends.

Accompanying Events

Talk/ In Conversation: Daniel Herrmann
Sat 25 June 12:00 – 14:00m FREE, booking recommended
A free guided tour by Constellations curators Karen Gaskill and Michelle Kasprzak followed by an informal discussion with Daniel Hermann, Curator and Head of MA Curatorial Studies at Whitechapel Gallery, London. This is an opportunity to explore the concepts behind the exhibition, ask questions and discuss issues raised.

Screening/ A Cosmological Fantasia
Mon 4 July, 18:20, £5.50 full/£4 concs
BAFTA and Cornerhouse present an epic 15 minute film showcasing the astonishing visual effects for Professor Brian Cox’s Wonders of the Universe programme, recently broadcast on BBC2, followed by an in-depth Q&A with Creative Director Rob Hifle exploring the behind the scenes secrets.
Film provided courtesy of BBC and visual design team BDH (Burrell Durrant Hifle).
This event forms part of BAFTA’s UK-wide learning and events programme, giving audiences across the country access behind the screens of the film, TV and games industries. More information at

Open reception/ Constellations and Magda Archer: Crazy Mad
Sat 9 Jul, 17:00 – 19:00, FREE, Drop in
With the city in the grip of the Manchester International Festival, we extend an open invitation to both familiar and first-time visitors. Enjoy a complementary drink and explore our two diverse summer shows, Constellations and Magda Archer: Crazy Mad, before heading out to sample the city’s cultural fruit.

Tour/ Constellations
Thu 8 Sep, 18:00-19:00, FREE, booking recommended
Join Cornerhouse staff on a tour of the exhibition as we consider the static nature of gallery presentation when affected by changeability, chance and the practice of our featured artists.
This tour will be BSL interpreted.