Friedrich Engels – philosopher, writer, radical thinker – is coming back home to Manchester.
Found in a somewhat disheveled state in a tiny village in eastern Ukraine, a two tonne, 3.5 metre high Soviet-era statue has hit the road to head back to where it all started. Over the coming weeks it will traverse Europe on the back of a flat bed truck and finally reach Manchester, Engels’ home of 20 years, where it will be permanently installed and inaugurated in a live film performance Ceremony by artist Phil Collins.
After extensive research and trips to Russia, Belarus and Ukraine over the last year, Collins has located a large concrete statue of Engels ascribed to an unknown sculptor and dated to 1970. It originally stood at the crossroads of a village in eastern Ukraine until 2015 when it was removed under new decommunisation laws. When Collins encountered it, the statue was cut in half and hidden in an agricultural compound, covered in raffia sacks.
Now on his journey to Manchester, Engels will pass through and make stops at some favourite old haunts, including Berlin and his birthplace Wuppertal. These will offer the opportunity for individuals and groups to visit the statue, spend time together and stage small interventions. You can follow his journey via our Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.
Ceremony takes place Sunday 16 July, NCP Bridgewater Hall Car Park.
Ceremony is co-commissioned by Manchester International Festival (MIF), 14-18 NOW – the UK’s arts programme for the First World War centenary, and HOME, Manchester.