Marianne Faithfull Co-Curates Exhibition At Tate Liverpool

New show includes works by Robert Mapplethorpe and Richard Long

The iconic singer-songwriter actress Marianne Faithfull is the latest co-curator in the acclaimed DLA Piper Series at Tate Liverpool. Faithfull has worked with the curatorial team at Tate Liverpool to select works from the Tate Collection for a new display entitled Innocence and Experience which reflect and offer a meditation upon her artistic influences, and her celebrated and very public life.

Robert Mapplethorpe’s striking 1976 photographic portrait of Faithfull provides a starting point for the display. Many of the artworks presented have personal significance for Faithfull, drawing upon friendships or collaborations with artists and performers across a variety of different art forms. Works such as Richard Hamilton’s Swingeing London 67 are linked directly to Faithfull’s public life, signalling her position within the pop aristocracy.

The selection also reflects Faithfull’s long standing interest in Romantic presentiments of darkness and the edgier side of human nature and eroticism: elements found in her own songs and performances. Featured artists include Francis Bacon, Balthus, William Blake, Marlene Dumas and Lucian Freud.

The display places Faithfull at the epicentre of swinging sixties avant-garde cool. John Dunbar, who co-founded Indica Gallery in London in the mid-1960s while married to Faithfull, has assisted Marianne in the curatorial process. Within Innocence and Experience, artists such as Richard Long, Colin Self and David Tremlett, who engaged with aspects of conceptual and performance art, reflect upon this important time for British art of which John and Marianne were an integral part. Indica, famed as the gallery where John Lennon first met Yoko Ono, is currently the subject of one of the current BP British Art Displays 1500-2011 at Tate Britain, recognising the gallery’s significance in defining 1960s London as a centre for radical artistic expression.

For Faithfull, the exhibition also signals a return to the city she remembers vividly from childhood: her family lived for a number of years in nearby Ormskirk, while her father completed his doctorate at The University of Liverpool. Faithfull said, “I was brought up to appreciate art and as a teenager was a frequent visitor to what was then the Tate Gallery in London. I have been fortunate in that my life is intertwined with those of artists and performers whose work is a continuing source of inspiration, which has guided the selection of works for this exhibition. I am delighted to be able to work with Tate Liverpool and with John Dunbar to realise this project.”

Innocence and Experience follows The Sculpture of Language, co-curated by Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy which closes on 8 April 2012. The exhibition will run alongside Conversation Pieces, co-curated by world renowned hat designer Philip Treacy. DLA Piper Series: This is Sculpture continues on Level One of the gallery with Michael Craig-Martin’s Sculpture: The Physical World.

Marianne Faithfull’s long and distinguished career has seen her emerge as one of the most original female singer- songwriters this country has produced; Utterly unsentimental yet somehow affectionate, Marianne possesses that rare ability to transform any lyric into something compelling and utterly personal; and not just on her own songs, for she has become a master of the art of finding herself in the words and music of others.

Marianne Faithfull’s story, has of course, been well documented, not least in her entertaining and insightful autobi- ography FAITHFULL (1994). Born in Hampstead in December 1946 Faithfull’s career as the crown princess of swinging London was launched with As Tears Go By; the first song ever written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, five al- bums followed whilst Marianne also embarked on a parallel career as an actress, both on film in GIRL ON A MOTOR- CYCLE (1968) and on stage in Chekhov’s THREE SISTERS (1967) and HAMLET (1969) By the end of the Sixties personal problems halted Marianne’s career and her drug addiction took over.

Faithfull emerged tentatively in the mid-Seventies with a country album called DREAMIN’ MY DREAMS (1976) but it was her furious re-surfacing on BROKEN ENGLISH in 1979 that definitively brought her back. Further new wave explorations followed with DANGEROUS ACQUAINTANCES (1981) and A CHILD’S ADVENTURE (1983). But despite her new creative vigour, Marianne was not entirely free of the chemicals that had ravaged her in the sixties.

Displaying a sadness tempered by optimism, and a despair rescued by humour Marianne returned, finally clean with a collection of classic pop, blues and art songs on the critically lauded STRANGE WEATHER (1987). A live retro- spective followed on BLAZING AWAY (CD&VHS 1990), which ably displayed why Faithfull has become one of the most sought after concert artists of the last 30 years.

Broken English Directed By Derek Jarman

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