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Phil Collins: The Baltic


Phil Collins is a visual artist and filmmaker based in Berlin and currently living in Salford. Since the late 1990s his diverse practice has been recognised for its engagement with social reality and lived experience. Over the years, he has explored various popular formats – from documentary, karaoke and reality television to soap opera, teleshopping and music video.

He has collaborated with, amongst others, disco-dancing Palestinians, fans of The Smiths, the youth of Baghdad, anti-fascist skinheads in Malaysia, the homeless population of Cologne, teachers of Marxism-Leninism from the former German Democratic Republic, and inmates at one of the United States’ largest prisons. His exhibition at BALTIC begins 22nd June 2018.

The Russian Revolution took place in 1917, in a country exhausted by the First World War. The event shaped the political landscape of the 20th century. But it was in Manchester, not Imperial Russia, that the idea of communism was born.

Friedrich Engels, co-founder of communist theory with his friend Karl Marx, lived in Manchester for 20 years. His philosophy was shaped by what he observed in the world’s first industrial city. At the initiative of award-winning artist Phil Collins, a decommissioned statue of Engels travelled in 2017 from a Ukrainian village across Europe to be permanently installed in Manchester.

Over the course of a year, Collins collaborated with local organisations, activists and communities to explore Engels’ legacy and the lives of workers today. Collins describes Ceremony as ‘the search for a statue of Engels and its journey back home, the everyday stories of people from Manchester, and a homecoming party to inaugurate the statue, with Russia’s 1917 revolution as a pivotal moment in the process’.

The second part of Ceremony is a film interweaving these three strands – connecting Manchester to the idea of communism, which transformed the post-war world and helped to shape the society we live in today.

As part of 14-18 NOW, the UK’s arts programme for the First World War centenary, the film is presented as a gallery installation.

Co-commissioned by 14-18 NOW, HOME, Manchester and Manchester International Festival. Produced by HOME, Manchester, Manchester International Festival, Shady Lane Productions and Tigerlily Productions. Supported by Arts Council England’s Ambition for Excellence, the BBC, the Henry Moore Foundation and My Festival Circle.

Essential Details


22nd June - 30th September 2018

Venue Details
Housed in a landmark industrial building on the south bank of the River Tyne in Gateshead, BALTIC is the biggest gallery of its kind in the world presenting a dynamic, diverse and international programme of contemporary visual art. BALTIC has no perman...


0191 478 1810

[email protected]


Gateshead Quays
South Shore Road

Opening Hours:

Monday 10.00am - 6.00pm
Tuesday 10.30am - 6.00pm
Wednesday 10.00am - 6.00pm
Thursday 10.00am - 6.00pm
Friday 10.00am - 6.00pm
Saturday 10.00am - 6.00pm
Sunday 10.00am - 6.00pm

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