This year, the UK’s largest contemporary art festival, Liverpool Biennial, sees 42 artists creating work at locations across the city, from Tate Liverpool to Cains Brewery to local supermarkets. As well as showcasing artists from the North of England including Merseyside-born Mark Leckey, the participants come from as far afield as Australia, Iran, Palestine and Taiwan. For 2016, the event has been conceived as a series of “episodes” each with a different focus, and as a whole it considers the past, present and future of the city.
These episodes are: Children’s Episode, the Biennial’s first comprehensive commissioning programme for artists to work collaboratively with children; Ancient Greece, acknowledging the inspiration behind many of Liverpool’s grandest buildings; Chinatown, presenting Liverpool’s heritage as home to the oldest Chinese community in Europe and Flashback, featuring new interpretations of history. In Software, Biennial artists open up new perspectives and interactions with technology; and in Monuments From the Future, they cast their predictive gaze forward in time.
The Children’s Episode includes a commission from British artist Marvin Gaye Chetwynd, who has created a film, Dogsy Ma Bone, that was entirely cast, produced and directed using young people from Liverpool. Meanwhile, Liverpool’s fleet of Arriva buses will include three double-deckers transformed by artists, of which one will be designed by schoolchildren. Reflecting on Liverpool’s radical political history, Japanese artist Koki Tanaka revisits the scene of a huge protest in in 1985. It involved around 10,000 children, demonstrating against the Conservative government’s Youth Training Scheme. Tanaka brings together original participants and their own children for a walk through the city, from St George’s Hall to the Pier Head, retracing the original route. Children will lead the interviews for the artist’s film of the project, which will be shown at Open Eye Gallery throughout the Biennial.
In Flashback, Mark Leckey presents Dream English Kid, a film inspired by events in his life from the 1970s to 1990s. It will be screened alongside new sculptural works in the Saw Mill, the former entrance to the legendary Liverpool club night Cream.
Meanwhile, a floor of Tate Liverpool is transformed into Ancient Greece. Drawing on National Museums Liverpool’s significant collection of classical Greek sculptures, originally amassed by Lancastrian antiquitarian patron, Henry Blundell in the early 1800s, Tate Liverpool is showing these sculptures alongside new commissions by international artists including Andreas Angelidakis, Koenraad Dedobbeleer and Jumana Manna.
Liverpool Biennial, 9 July-16 October. Various venues across Liverpool.
For more, visit www.biennial.com.
1. Marvin Gaye Chetwynd, Jesus and Barabbas puppet show, 9 October 2014 at Cricoteka, Kraków. Photo by Jan Smaga. Copyright the artist, courtesy Cricoteka and Sadie Coles HQ, London.