10 September 2004
Metro (Magazine p.14)

An exhibition is proving that Manchester’s water palace is not willing to await its fate but is looking to the future. An Ambitious art project has challenges six artists to picture its potential.

Victoria Baths grew in popularity following its big win on BBC’s Restoration but the charity hand-out didn’t immediately secure its future or mean that those who love the building could take a rest.

Now, as the building awaits a decision on its future, the exhibition entitled For the Time Being: A Promise of Progress proves that those who want the baths to be brought back into some form of public use have plenty of ideas.

From 170 artists six were chosen to exhibit their work and provide fresh interpretations of a building that is rich in history and memories but needs to move away from nostalgia and into the future.

Tod Hanson created a huge installation in the gala pool based on Victorian romantic decoration to transform the view of the room. Joanna Karolini cleaned and polished sections of the Turkish baths as part of work remembering the communities and labourers who worked there.

But other artists took even more modern approaches. Ellie Harrison, a web artist, created Bath Time drawing on inspiration from data archives-to make an interactive web exhibit at www.elleharrison.com/bathtime

Lizzie Hughes presents an unusual video project, which follows the route of the water drained from Victoria Baths on its path through drains, pipes and streams to the sea.

Rachel Broady