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This Goodly Frame, The Earth, This Most Excellent Canopy, The Air. 2019

Responding to changes in town life and communal space. Wigan artist Anna FC Smith has created a town square Water Well, a traditional epicentre around which activities such as commercial transactions and festive rites once took place. 

Her monument describes the elemental substances of the old and new market square, the physical earth which Bakhtin spoke of, as a place where boys ran with clay splattered legs and creaking carts of dung rattled by; And the intangible aether, the space of disembodied messages and virtual interaction. 

The exhibition space was curated by Al and Al with assistance by Anna FC Smith. It featured works by Frank Orrell, Matt Denniss, Alexander Carse, Charles Towne, John Haynes Williams

Surrounded by four treasured paintings from Wigan Museum’s art collection, the exhibition showcases town life across the ages, an Oil lamp from the 1st Century illuminates Wigan’s magnificent Roman heritage. 


This room embodies the modern orbit created by Satellite technology. “All Round was the Lunar Landscape” were George Orwell’s unforgettable words, as he witnessed the slag heaps In the Road to Wigan Pier. 

The exhibition features a video work which intercuts NASA footage captured on the Moon with a documentary about Wigan’s slag heaps, the smoldering aftermath of a mining town. Frank Orrell’s extraordinary images of the Slag heaps echo this juxtaposition with Matthew Denniss’ exquisite Lunar drawings. 

We are all astronauts now, checking our smartphones for messages, shopping online instead of using our town centres. We all occupy the real space of our town and the orbiting space of the satellite world.

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