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24 September 2014

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You are in: Black Country > Entertainment > Visual Arts > Unholy Truths @ Initial Access

Frank Cohen in front of 'Between Man and Animal'

Frank & 'Between Man and Animal'

Unholy Truths @ Initial Access

Unholy Truths, the third exhibition at Wolverhampton’s Initial Access Gallery is now open. It's on until December 15 2007 (Tue-Fri 11am-4pm. Free admission).

On the eve of Unholy Truths' opening, I caught up with the renowned contemporary art collector Frank Cohen and the exhibition’s curator, David Thorpe.

Frank Cohen’s unusually situated gallery continues to give the people of the West Midlands a unique opportunity to view up to the minute contemporary art from across the globe.

Drawing from Cohen’s substantial collection, curator David Thorpe has assembled a selection of paintings, sculptures and photographic works that are accessible, almost playful, yet are linked by their ability to disturb.

Til Gerhard's painting Black Love

Black Love, Til Gerhard 2007 ©

From the East and the West

Thorpe sees the show as an opportunity to bring together artists from the West and the emerging contemporary art nations such as China and India. The common thread amongst the works is a sense of the macabre, tempered by a humorous twist.

Famous names such as the Chapman Brothers and Mike Kelley are present alongside works by lesser-known names such as Tallur L.N. and Sudhursan Shetty, who represent India and China respectively.

Standout pieces in the exhibition include ‘Unholy Trinity 3’ by Jake and Dinos Chapman, a work that self-consciously references African tribal art yet replaces a crucified Jesus and his disciples with effigies based on McDonalds toys.

Perhaps the most visually arresting work in the collection is by the Chinese artists Yue Minjun. ‘Between Man and Animal’ features a series of over painted, clone-like characters with huge, dark grins on their faces. I defy any visitor not to break out into a smile on viewing this work, but one is also left with a sense of confusion – if only we were party to the joke.

Initial Access

The Initial Access gallery

A unique venture

Cohen is unusual amongst collectors in that he wishes to share his passion for art with others rather than hide it away for personal pleasure. He is also committed to maintaining a presence in the West Midlands and intends to continue to with a regular programme of exhibitions based on works in his collection.

Anyone in the region with an interest in contemporary art should take the time to visit this unique venture. As he himself puts it ‘Where else can you see a range of contemporary art like this? I don’t have to adhere to the kind of restrictions that other galleries have and I’m not charging an entrance fee’.

Gallery details

Address: Initial Access, Units 19 & 20, Calibre Industrial Park, Laches Close, Off Enterprise Drive, Four Ashes, Wolverhampton. For further information call 01902 790419 or visit


Picture credit: Til Gerhard Black Love, 2006, Courtesy of the artist and The Frank Cohen Collection. Copyright: Til Gerhard, 2007

last updated: 19/09/07

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