Liverpool Biennial, the UK biennial of contemporary art, launches its 20th anniversary (10th Edition) this week. Taking place over 15 weeks across the city in public spaces, galleries, museums and online, Liverpool Biennial commissions artists from around the world to make and present work in the context of Liverpool. The 10th edition under the title Beautiful world, where are you?, runs from 14 July – 28 October 2018. More than 40 artists from 22 countries are participating in the programme responding to the theme set by lead curators, Kitty Scott, Carol and Morton Rapp Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at Art Gallery of Ontario, and Sally Tallant, Director of Liverpool Biennial.
The title Beautiful world, where are you? derives from a 1788 poem by the German poet Friedrich Schiller, set to music by Austrian composer Franz Schubert
The years between the composition of Schiller’s poem and Schubert’s song saw great upheaval and profound change in Europe, from the French Revolution to the fall of the Napoleonic Empire. Today, the poem continues to reflect a world gripped by deep uncertainty. It can be seen as a lament but also as an invitation to reconsider our past, advancing a new sense of beauty that can be shared in a more equitable way. Over 40 artists from 22 countries are presenting work that responds to the call Beautiful world, where are you?
Agnès Varda creates first work in the UK Following her recently announced special Oscar for Lifetime Achievement, Agnès Varda, one of the great figures of New Wave cinema, will be celebrated in her 90th year. She will create her first work in the UK, a three-channel video installation derived from her films Vagabond(1985), Documenteur (1981) and The Gleaners (2000). The installation will be presented at FACT, alongside screenings of her seminal film Ulysse (1982). In her words: “Beautiful world of art, what can we do to make it beautiful? – that is where I think it is our duty as artists to be conscious, but also build something that is more beautiful than ugly.” The BFI, Picturehouse and FACT are also collaborating with the Biennial to present a film programme combining Agnès Varda’s filmography with a selection of films curated by her.
Chechnya’s turbulent history explored by Aslan Gaisumov Three video works by Chechen artist Aslan Gaisumov combine the personal with the political and explore the struggles of the Chechen people displaced at the hands of Russian forces. He was awarded the Special Prize of the Future Generation Prize of the Pinchuk Art Centre in Ukraine in 2014. His most recent exhibition was at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam in 2017.
Francis Alÿs shows paintings from the world’s war zones The Belgian artist Francis Alÿs will show a selection of tiny paintings at Victoria Gallery & Museum in Liverpool, dating from the 80s until today. Executed in the tradition of classic ’plein air’ painting, his work comments on the issues of global tourism and social unrest. Alÿs has never shied away from conflict zones. He has worked in Israel-Palestine and Afghanistan and accepted a residency in Iraq, where he worked with local artists and refugees. He was embedded with the Kurdish Peshmerga forces on the Mosul frontline, taking the role of the war artist documenting the fight against ISIS via brush and paint.
Mae-ling Lokko hacks shipping container to ‘live-grow’ new pavilion Architectural historian and material technologist Mae-ling Lokko, based between Ghana and the US, will use what are described as ‘rhizomatic methods’ to ‘grow’ a new large-scale structure in a series of public Grow-It-Yourself workshops on the Liverpool Waterfront, co-commissioned with RIBA North.
Mohamed Bourouissa creates new ‘healing’ garden for Liverpool Algerian artist Mohamed Bourouissa, currently, the subject of a major solo show at the Musée d’Art Moderne in Paris, will design and construct a new ‘healing’ garden modelled on the traditions of Algerian gardens. The project is inspired by a garden created by a patient of the psychoanalyst and writer Franz Fanon at the Psychiatric Hospital in Blida, Algeria.
Pioneering artists from the world’s Indigenous communities go on show for first time New and existing works by artists from Inuit, Aboriginal and Indigenous communities will be presented at Tate Liverpool reflecting the resurgence of consciousness and activism amongst artists across the world. Among these, Dale Harding, a descendant of the Bidjara, Ghungalu and Garingbal people of Central Queensland, he will create a new wall-based work at Tate Liverpool inspired by rock art sites in Queensland, using the stencil technique practices of the artist’s ancestors. Also featured is Annie Pootoogook (1969-2016), from a long line of Inuit artists living in Kinngait (Cape Dorset in Canada), who chronicled the everyday moments of modern Inuit life in her coloured pencil drawings.
Children’s commission led by Ryan Gander with Knotty Ash Primary School Liverpool Biennial’s acclaimed work with children will this year be led by British artist Ryan Gander. Among the projects will be a group exhibition at Bluecoat, a series of sculptures at Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral, and the development of a family programme and digital curriculum resources for primary and secondary schools.
Liverpool’s great civic buildings and public spaces act as a stage for the Biennial underlining the history and architecture of the city and giving visitors a fresh insight into the cityscape. Alongside the internationally recognised art spaces of Tate Liverpool, FACT, Open Eye Gallery and Bluecoat, the Biennial will also unfold in such buildings as the neoclassical masterpiece, St George’s Hall, the Greek revival style Oratory, Victoria Gallery & Museum designed by Alfred Waterhouse, Blackburne House, the home of the first girls’ school in the country, Liverpool John Moores University’s Exhibition Research Lab, the Liverpool Playhouse theatre and RIBA North. Public spaces include Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral, Exchange Flags in Liverpool’s Commercial District and Kingsley Community Primary School in Toxteth.
Madiha Aijaz (Pakistan)
Abbas Akhavan (b. Iran, lives in Canada)
Morehshin Allahyari (b. Iran, lives in US)
Francis Alÿs (b. Belgium, lives in Mexico)
Ei Arakawa (b. Japan, lives in USA)
Kevin Beasley (USA)
Mohamed Bourouissa (b. Algeria, lives in France)
Banu Cennetoğlu (Turkey)
Shannon Ebner (USA)
Paul Elliman (UK)
Inci Eviner (Turkey)
Aslan Gaisumov (Chechnya)
Ryan Gander with Jamie Clark, Phoebe Edwards, Tianna Mehta, Maisie Williams and
Joshua Yates (UK)
Joseph Grigely (USA)
Dale Harding (Australia)
Holly Hendry (UK)
Lamia Joreige (Lebanon)
Brian Jungen (b. Canada)
Janice Kerbel (b. Canada, lives in UK)
Duane Linklater (b. Canada)
Mae-ling Lokko (b. Saudi Arabia, lives in Ghana and USA)
Taus Makhacheva (Russia)
Ari Benjamin Meyers (b. America, lives in Germany)
Naeem Mohaiemen (Bangladeshi, lives in USA)
Paulina Olowska (Poland)
George Osodi (Nigeria)
Silke Otto-Knapp (b. Germany, lives in USA)
Mathias Poledna (b. Austria, lives in USA)
Annie Pootoogook (d. 2016) (b. Canada)
Reetu Sattar (Bangladesh)
Suki Seokyeong Kang (South Korea)
Iacopo Seri (Italy)
Melanie Smith (b. England, lives in Mexico)
The Serving Library (b. USA, lives in UK and USA)
Agnès Varda (b. Belgium, lives in France)
Joyce Wieland (d. 1998) (Canada)
Haegue Yang (b. South Korea, lives in South Korea and Germany)
Chou Yu-Cheng (Taiwan)
Rehana Zaman (UK)
Also showing as part of Liverpool Biennial 2018 are partner exhibitions John Moores Paintings Prize at the Walker Art Gallery, Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2018 at Liverpool John Moores University’s School of Art and Design, and the Biennial Fringe.
Liverpool Biennial 2018 Beautiful world, where are you? 14 July – 28 October 2018 Venues and sites across Liverpool