Press Release
March 2011

Artist Michael Mayhew cuts beneath the covers in a remarkable new exhibition at Blackwell's bookshop

Manchester artist and composer Michael Mayhew has teamed up with Blackwell's University Bookshop on Oxford Road for a unique exhibition to mark the success of World Book Day.

Michael slices into books with a scalpel, seals them, then inserts found objects: for example, a phial of blood, a cast of a vagina or the skull of a magpie. The result is a collection of surreal curiosities that slices into our own imagination and dreams.

Following a launch party and viewing on March 17th, the exhibition will be found around all three floors of the bookshop and will run until April 20th.

Michael Mayhew said: “Our dreams are represented in the form of objects implanted into the book's interior, alluring the viewer to imagine their own stories, and questioning our existence, our history and our futures.

“The Surgery Of Dreams sets the book onto its rightful pedestal and opens up the bookshop as a repository of adventure, a place to search for the hidden and the extraordinary.”

Michael Mayhew, born in a fairground next to the River Mersey, produces his works in a studio in Whalley Range. He is the John Thaw Fellow for Manchester University and composes for the London Sinfonietta through their Writing The Future programme. This is his first collaboration with Blackwell's.

Ian Carrington, Blackwell's Deputy Manager, welcomed the exhibition. He said: “Michael's idea of books as an ancient but relevant technology in an e-reader world was inspiring for us, and that's why we're putting on the exhibition. Also, his works hold a macabre charm that impressed us immensely.

“Michael is handy with a scalpel when it comes to books: we're going to have to keep him away from our cult fiction and our graphic novels in case he turns them into renewed works of art too.”

Surgery of Dreams

Launch night and viewing
March 17th 6.30 – 8.30pm at Blackwell's bookshop
Refreshments provided
Exhibition runs from March 17th until April 20th
9.30am – 5pm Mon to Sat at Blackwell's, Oxford Road, M13 9RN

Notes for editors: For more information, contact Ian Carrington at Blackwell's on 0161 274 3331 or ian.carrington [at] blackwell.co.uk