Featuring Artists: Prayas Abhinav, Antifreeze, Rob Bailey, Andrea Booker, Andrew Bracey, Olaf Breuning, Rose Butler and Kypros Kyprianou, Chris Butler, Chipboard Project, Ruth Claxton, David Cochrane, Phil Constable, Paul Cordwell, Toby Huddlestone, Kevin Hunt, jack of none, Aaron Koblin, Yam Lau, Andrew Lim, Haroon Mirza, Becky Shaw, Suzanne Smith, Cheryl Sourkes, Daniel Staincliffe, Cherry Tenneson.

Participating Organisations: 100th Monkey, BMCA, Bureau, Castlefield Gallery, Contents May Vary, Exocet, FutureEverything, Gymnasium, Harfleet & Jack, Interval, Islington Mill Art Academy, Rogue Project Space, twenty+3 projects

Contemporary Art Manchester (CAM) presents its inaugural project Trade City; a dynamic, international exhibition in Will Alsop’s iconic CHIPS building, supported by Arts Council England and Urban Splash, and in conjunction with Manchester International Festival 2009. Introducing a number of Manchester and UK premieres and new commissions, Trade City has generated new forms of exchange across the city’s art scene.

Contemporary Art Manchester is a new, not-for-profit consortium of visual arts organisations, representing the breadth of the current contemporary arts infrastructure in Manchester. In bringing together the art production of thirteen diverse organisations, Trade City reflects the trading and exchange that has taken place between the artists and curators partnering in CAM.

Each participating organisation has selected artists to work with that are representative of their curatorial approach or position, alongside exploring multi-faceted interpretations of ‘trade’. As a result, the presented works of twenty-six emergent to established international artists trade off each other in one space, creating aesthetic and spatial interplays, whilst addressing ideas of cultural, economic, geographical and political exchange.

Contemporary Art Manchester is a new, not-for-profit consortium of visual arts organisations, comprising of established, high-profile partners, independent galleries, young artist-run projects and curatorial agencies; representing the breadth of the current arts infrastructure in Manchester, and generating new forms of exchange across the city’s contemporary art scene.

Initiated in July 2008 CAM has been developed with the independent and artist-led visual arts sector in the city, working to further the presence and awareness of contemporary art, through joint programming, audience development and profile raising, networking and exchange activities. CAM has arisen from a collective desire for a support structure to enhance and strengthen the partners’ current and future activities, and to provide an accessible platform for newly initiated projects to grow and flourish. CAM aims to develop Manchester’s reputation regionally, nationally and internationally, as a centre for innovative contemporary art and curatorial practice; to create a platform for young artist-led projects to thrive; and to provide both direct and indirect opportunities for the professional development of artists and curators.

Additionally, CAM aims to build and develop audiences for contemporary art. In collectively working on exhibition and presentation formats CAM will test the ways in which contradictions or tensions and harmonies can co-exist within such a framework, and in the case of the inaugural exhibition ‘Trade City’, under one roof. Unpicking, critiquing, and sharing working methodologies and creative processes, the diverse and multi-disciplinary approaches from the represented partners will create dynamic and engaging collaborations, seeking to push the boundaries of curatorial practice.

An open system, the nature of co-operative working through CAM engages with notions of democracy, collectivity and self-organisation; examining and revealing the practices of people engaged with creative work within Manchester, who may be operating through less formal structures, or on the periphery of the city. The collective might of CAM will redress this balance, creating a new central structure or ‘core’ for the production and dissemination of contemporary art.