MANCHESTER, England — After 147 years, Friedrich Engels is back in town. Statues of Engels, Karl Marx’s collaborator, may have been ripped down all over the former communist world, but he has returned here, to the city that made him famous.
His resurrection in Manchester, where he conducted research on the working class in the 1840s, is thanks to artist Phil Collins, who made Engels the centerpiece of his most recent project, “Ceremony.”
“I started working on this theme about 10 years ago,” said Collins. Immersing himself in the history of the Industrial Revolution and of socialism in Manchester, he stumbled upon a quote by a local civil servant, who raised the idea of transporting an Engels statue from Ukraine to Manchester.
Collins traveled for about a year across Eastern Europe before finally finding his prize in an agricultural compound in a district that he said was once named after Engels in the Poltava region of eastern Ukraine.
The 1917 Russian Revolution was inspired by Marx and Engels’s ideas in their “Communist Manifesto” of 1848. Much of their analysis was based on Engels’s own masterwork, “The Condition of the Working Class in England,” published three years before.