L'Escalier Moderne : Bill Ayres


16.10.20 - 23.12.20

After our brief enforced shutdown, our exhibitons are back.. with L'Escalier Moderne, photographic assemblage of staircases in Manchester by photographer Bill Ayres @bill_ayres with words by Simon James Hadfield @simonjhadfield and book design by Lisa Brown @lisa_in_leeds

You may remember Bill Ayres from our previous collaboration = Knowledge and Work - a photographic study of Manchester’s former UMIST campus.

Well now Bill has teamed up with Simon Hadfield to bring a tribute to that often overlooked but necessary and sometimes beautiful aspect of architecture - the staircase.

‘The book might have been called ‘L’Esprit de L’Escalier’ meaning the ‘mind’ or ‘spirit’ of the staircase : the idea of having the perfect witty retort or comeback, but only grasping it once you’re on your way out of the apartment, or building, or life of the person you were talking to….. we realised that staircases have a fleeting and liminal quality in many senses, and we wanted to show that.’

Bill has captured the staircases, in and around Manchester, of dozens of Modernist buildings - mostly in the low light and twilight hours - they are both a tribute to the architects who conceived them but also offer us a sense of the possibilities staircases can lead us to.

On display at #ModernistHQ - 58 Port street Manchester from 16/10/20 to 24/12/20

Images from the exhibition are featured in a photobook available online and in our Port Street shop.

All images © Bill Ayres