"Do It" art show inspires audiences in Manchester Int'l Festival

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Group art show "Do It 2013" opened Friday as part of the Manchester International Festival in Britain, giving artists a platform to creatively entertain the public with their inspiring and sometimes even absurd thoughts.

In the "Do It" show, artists provide written instructions for an installation, activity, or work of art to be presented in the gallery space.

The artists do it by creating the idea, curators do it by producing the art, and members of the public do it by carrying out the instructions.

The artistic idea can be profound and philosophical, and can also be satirical and absurd.

The work "Your Mindful Meteorite" by Icelandic academic and artist Olafur Eliasson features a piece of meteorite that viewers are asked to pick up while looking at themselves in a distorting mirror, which is strangely thought-provoking.

Another installation invites visitors to squeeze the juice from lemons using a bicycle seat, created by German artist Andreas Slominski, who is known for his absurd yet witty arts.

Elsewhere there is Japanese artist Yoko Ono's "Wish Piece," where gallery visitors are encouraged to write their wish or desire on a note and hang it from a tree placed in the gallery.

"You never know what the artists are going to come up with," show curator Natasha Shaw told Xinhua. "My favorite piece is one where the artist has asked for a live vulture to fly across the gallery!"

Shaw said the idea came from Colombian artist Maria Jose Arjona, who followed the instructions for an art project by fellow Colombian performance artist Maria Theresa Hincapie to go into the rainforest, imbibe a plant, have a spiritual awakening and then write down her thoughts.

Arjona's instructions for her piece were that she wanted a wild animal to bring these thoughts into the gallery, which is where the idea of the live vulture came from, Shaw said.

Films also had a presence in the "Do It" show. Shaw highlighted Mexican artist Damian Ortega's work, which was called "Dives," featuring the positions of divers in action.

She said she and her colleagues worked with the Manchester Aquatic Center, which was built for the Commonwealth Games in 2002 and had an underwater screening room.

"The film-makers, who have just graduated, produced the most beautiful film of these divers performing their dives -- it is absolutely sublime," she said.

"Do It" involves pieces by more than 70 artists, and runs until Sept. 22 at Manchester City Art Gallery.

The Manchester International Festival, first held in 2007, is a biannual festival that concentrates on premieres of original works, many by leading international artists or performers.

Performers at this year's festival include Hollywood actor Willem Dafoe, British Oscar winning actor Kenneth Branagh, music group Massive Attack, and singer Neneh Cherry.

Art events for the Festival are taking place all over the city over the coming weeks. The festival continues until July 21. Endi

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