Can't Do Right For Doing Wrong

Sarah Perks (Curator)

Research output: Non-textual formExhibition

81 Downloads (Pure)


Perks uses her background in education and participation to develop new knowledge in curatorial practice, expanding on work by Bourriaud (1998), Jackson (2011) and Bishop (2012), by researching how relational curatorial strategy works with participation in the creation of newly commissioned work. This project developed her previous research built during multi-vocal representations through group exhibitions and applied it to a solo artist presentation. Can’t Do Right For Doing Wrong, was the solo exhibition of artist Phil Collins curated by Perks, displayed at HOME, Manchester, it included new work Ceremony (2018), and previous works, my heart’s in my hand… (2013) and Delete Beach (2016). 


This research is re-presented through both the new commission (representation of participant engagement and workshops) and curatorial selection of pieces, which together create a new multi-vocal form of exhibition around dialogue on late capitalism. This opposes prior traditions of linear curation (showing similar works/series by an artist or a chronological approach) and rejects one-dimensional thematic curatorial constructs. Perks utilised her academic context to cross-fertilise the emerging field of curatorial strategy, establishing new relational conventions of curatorial methodology, by researching historical critiques of capitalism (Engels, 1845; Marx, 1867), feminism (Rowbotham, Segal & Wainwright, 1979), postmodernism (Jameson, 1984/1991), class and austerity (Owens, 2011) and environmental concerns (Demos, 2016), to expand this curatorial process. Her interdisciplinary research also created new knowledge for its origin: Engels in Manchester. 


Further expanding Ceremony, Perks’ methodology of commissioning artworks for gallery/film festival distribution created multiple audience access points, and an innovative outlet to enable this (‘HOME Artist Film’) which changed industry practice internationally. Pioneering curating and creating multiple versions of the artists’ projects, Perks created an intervention into artist film distribution that expands audience reach and sets industry precedent. 


Can’t Do Right for Doing Wrong, is a solo exhibition of artist Phil Collins that showed at HOME Manchester that included the new commission Ceremony, a multi-channel installation which was created through an international partnership with Manchester International Festival, BBC and 14-18 NOW. Ceremony was toured by Perks to BALTIC, Gateshead, The MAC, Belfast, and Cooper Gallery, Dundee.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jul 2018


Dive into the research topics of 'Can't Do Right For Doing Wrong'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this