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REVIEW 2007 and 2008


Small book, big message The city’s year as European Capital of Culture was a brilliant opportunity for Liverpool Biennial. We commissioned some wonderful artworks, engaged more people with our work than ever before, widened our range of partners and participants, and invested in the development and growth of the company. In 2007 we completed two fantastically popular projects that signalled our ambitions for 2008. We secured Antony Gormley’s Another Place in its permanent home on Crosby Beach, providing the North West with a powerful icon. And we launched Richard Wilson’s Turning the Place Over, dubbed by Sir Nicholas Serota as one of the best pieces of public art in Europe. Both projects benefited from Northern Way support. Our Big Table programme, with partners in Garston, Kensington and Kirkdale, exemplifies how we work ‘at the intersection of the local and the international’. In spring 2008, with the support of Liverpool Culture Company, the Biennial Big Table realized three ‘Pavilions’ – large scale projects by top artists designed to bring profile to those neighbourhoods. At the end of the year Michael Pinsky realised the third in a series of annual Winter Lights (following those by Ron Haselden and Franck Scurti). In the summer we began to bring our programme into the city centre and, on behalf of the Culture Company, we commissioned Nils Norman to work with Merseytravel and the City Parks Department to raise awareness of the city’s green spaces, while A-APE collective from Stockholm worked with local communities and startling statistics to activate the city centre. For the 2008 Liverpool Biennial international festival, with the support of the Northwest Regional Development Agency, Liverpool Culture Company and Liverpool Vision, we commissioned three more major projects to enliven the city centre. Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s Arbores Laetae (aka the Dancing Trees), was the first project by this internationally acclaimed practice to be completed in the UK, and should delight passers by for years to come. With the support of EU-Japan Fest Rockscape, a street theatre by Tokyo based architects Atelier Bow Wow, has created a popular facility in a former bombsite that is also a key moment in the urban fabric. Chinese artist Ai Weiwei’s Web of Light, with the support of the Henry Moore Foundation, brought delighted visitors to the fabulous but under-used Exchange Flags piazza behind the Town Hall.

The rest of the International exhibition, titled MADE UP, fully lived up to the expectations created by these large projects, and received even more visitors, and better critical attention, than its four predecessors. The Gulbenkian European Commissions added a new and valuable contribution, and a more global perspective than usual was evident in the festival outside the main platforms, with fine exhibitions contributed from Japan, Canada and Korea in particular. That perspective was informed and challenged through our continuing talks programme, including New Networks which brought speakers to Liverpool from Africa, the Caribbean and the Middle East. 2008 was the first year of Art for Places, our three year collaboration with New Heartlands (the Housing Market Renewal Pathfinder Agency for Merseyside), that has already proved an effective catalyst in stimulating art activity in the north of the city. This initiative, as do all our commissions, develops and continues the fantastic groundwork laid down by our Learning and Inclusion activities over the last ten years. All our work is undertaken in partnership, and it is thanks to our partners that what we do engages such a range of people, and in sufficient depth, to make a lasting impact. Arts Council England and Liverpool City Council have been most supportive to our mission and we are working with our associates in Liverpool Arts Regeneration Campaign (LARC) and Visual Arts in Liverpool (VAiL) to build Liverpool’s future as a creative city and the hub of the visual arts in Britain. If this sounds like a full couple of years for a small organisation, we can promise you there’s plenty more to come. We’ll continue both to build the international reputation of the UK’s Biennial through the festival in the city centre, and prove ourselves the UK’s leading art commissioning practice in the context of neighbourhood and urban regeneration. Lewis Biggs Director / CEO


Turning the Place Over The most daring piece of public art ever commissioned in the UK, Turning the Place Over is artist Richard Wilson’s most radical architectural gesture to date, turning a building in Liverpool’s city centre literally inside out. One of Wilson’s extraordinary temporary interventions, Turning the Place Over draws attention to the process of development by subverting Cross Keys House, Moorfields.

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“...one of the best pieces of public art in Europe...” Sir Nicholas Serota

Richard Wilson is one of Britain’s most renowned sculptors. He is internationally celebrated for his interventions in architectural space that redraw the boundaries between the viewer and the worlds of engineering and construction. Turning the Place Over consists of an 8 metres diameter ovoid cut from the façade of a building in Liverpool city centre and made to oscillate in three dimensions. The revolving façade rests on a specially designed giant rotator, developed for the shipping and nuclear industries, and acts as a huge opening and closing window, offering recurrent glimpses of the interior as it turns. The construction programme started in February 2007 and involved the careful partial deconstruction of the façade across three floors of the building, which was then reconstructed and fixed to the enormous pivot installed at the heart of the building. This astonishing feat of engineering is touching audiences on many levels. Disturbing and disorientating from a distance, from close-up passers-by have a thrilling experience as the building rotates above them. Throughout 2008, visitors were offered the opportunity to take a tour inside the building to view the powerful inner workings of the installation. Commissioned by Liverpool Biennial and co-funded by the Liverpool Culture Company, the Northwest Regional Development Agency and The Northern Way, and facilitated by Liverpool Vision, the project was conceived as a stunning trailblazer for Liverpool’s year as European Capital of Culture 2008 and the jewel in the crown of the Culture Company’s public art programme.

“Turning The Place Over has proved to be the success I felt it would be when forming that first maquette in 2001.” Richard Wilson

“What a truly incredible piece of architecture! Way to go, Liverpool. You’ve got quite a work of art on your hands!” YouTube User

To date, audience-made videos of Turning the Place Over on YouTube have been viewed over 650,000 times.

Richard Wilson, Turning the Place Over, 2007


Visible Virals

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Taking place across the city’s public transport, parks and urban spaces, Visible Virals engaged hundreds of thousands of people as the project spread across the city during 2008. Designed to have a light touch and to be transient, the artworks infiltrated public spaces and infrastructures in the city, appearing unannounced in surprising locations. The commissions addressed two different aspects of city life: Stockholm artists’ collective A-APE made interventions on walls and in spaces in the city centre, and British artist Nils Norman produced a media campaign that encouraged exploration of Liverpool’s parks. Both projects had bespoke websites that invited audience participation. Visible Virals were at the forefront of the public realm programme, commissioned by the Liverpool Culture Company as part of European Capital of Culture 2008 and managed by Liverpool Biennial, and were part of a broad and inclusive programme of work that reflects Liverpool’s cultural life and its varied communities including the neighbourhoods surrounding the city centre.

A-APE, Visible Virals, 2008

“The Biennial Transport and Parks themes are great reminders of the variety of offerings across the city...” Phil Redmond Daily Post

A-APE, Visible Virals, 2008

Nils Norman, The 8 Parks Walk, 2008


Pavilions The Pavilions project took the form of three large-scale, temporary creative spaces in the Liverpool neighbourhoods of Kirkdale, Garston and Kensington. Each community followed a very different approach to their site, working collaboratively with international artists and architects to embed their individual needs and aspirations into the spaces.

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For the Kirkdale Pavilion, Rotunda worked with internationally acclaimed landscape architects GROSS Max on designs to convert a strip of derelict land outside their building into a community garden. The gardens are divided into two parts: a Folly with a vertical garden that creates spaces for activities and events; the second part became ‘Bar Code’ garden strips of varying widths, which are now being tended by community groups, creating an environment for everyone to enjoy. The garden opened to the delight of the neighbourhood on 28 April 2008. In Kensington, Metal invited Colombian father and son team Luis and Juan Pelaez to design an imaginative and ambitious transformation of the disused approach to Edge Hill Station. Nexus was a sea of glowing columns along the length of the space, referencing the design of the original station flooring dating from 1830. The Pavilion was launched, together with Metal’s new programme for Edge Hill Station, on 3 May 2008.

Michael Trainor, Garston Embassy, 2008

GROSS. MAX., Rotunda Folly, 2008

For their Pavilion, Garston Cultural Village and artist Michael Trainor worked together to stage an amazing ‘Cultural Revolution’ through the declaration of the Artistic Republic of Garston on 31 May 2008. The neighbourhood’s former Wellington Street School building became The Garston Embassy, complete with palm trees, fountain, sculpture garden and a balcony of waving dignitaries. The ‘official staterooms’ inside were made available for community programming.

Luis and Juan Pelaez, Nexus, 2008


Winter Lights

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Michael Pinsky’s 2008 Winter Lights commission Title Author Genre (TAG) took the form of three animated neon sculptures, each created from three signatures, placed in the Liverpool neighbourhoods of Garston, Kensington and Kirkdale. The sculptures are a play on the graffiti symbols and signatures found in each of the neigbourhoods. The title, TAG, refers to this as well as to the system of textual navigation used by internet search engines. Issues of authorship and identity are intentionally blurred: the signs were developed through workshops with local people, then appropriated and reframed for exhibition in the public realm to establish a neighbourhood ‘territory’. For some viewers TAG might seem to be constructed from abstract or calligraphic shapes, but others will recognise its content and may have even been the author of its form.

“Rabbit is just magic! Liverpool has been wowed by a giant spider – now it is the turn of a 20ft rabbit to hop into the limelight. ” Liverpool Echo

As with all our commissions, ‘engagement’ was an essential element of the Winter Lights series – which included Ron Haselden’s Animal (2006), and Franck Scurti’s Liverpool Jackpot (2007). All three sets of Winter Lights lit up Liverpool neighbourhoods throughout 2008.

Michael Pinsky, Title Author Genre, Mount Vernon, 2008

Ron Hasleden, Rabbit, 2008


Liverpool Biennial 2008 International Festival of Contemporary Art For ten weeks every two years the city of Liverpool is transformed into the most amazing living gallery of new art, showcasing the best contemporary artists from around the world. In 2008 the festival was bigger and better than ever, celebrating 10 years of commissioning ambitious and challenging new work as well as Liverpool’s status as European Capital of Culture. The fifth edition of Liverpool Biennial’s International Exhibition, MADE UP, explored the ecology of the artistic imagination, highlighting art’s capacity to transport us, suspend disbelief and generate alternative realties. MADE UP was presented across multiple venues: Tate Liverpool, the Bluecoat, FACT [Foundation for Art and Creative Technology] and Open Eye Gallery, with half the exhibition sited in public spaces across the city.

Steve Bishop, Suspension of Disbelief, 2007 Bloomberg New Contemporaries

Alongside the International there were three key strands of Liverpool Biennial 2008: John Moores 25 Contemporary Painting Prize, Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2008 and a body of complementary programmes that included Liverpool Biennial’s year round work, a series of specially commissioned projects in public spaces and additional collaborative projects that saw artists from Japan, Canada and Korea working across the city. Complementary projects included Noodle Bar and Ssamzie Store at Static Gallery, RIBA’s Le Corbusier exhibition, Fantasy Studio Project at A Foundation, Vue sur Québec in collaboration with Manif D’Art and Jump Ship Rat, and European Eyes on Japan/ Japan Today Vol 10, both at NOVAS Contemporary Urban Centre.

Julian Brain, Special Relativity, 2000 – 2007 John Moores 25

Jeanine Woollard, George, 2008 Bloomberg New Contemporaries


MADE UP Liverpool Biennial’s international festival was bigger and better than ever, celebrating its tenth anniversary and a decade of the city’s development as a visual arts hub for the UK – as well as Liverpool’s status as European Capital of Culture. Whilst it is the International exhibition that brings critical acclaim and the art world to the city, the other three strands of the festival – John Moores Contemporary Painting Prize, Bloomberg New Contemporaries and the complementary programmes – are what give the festival the essential vitality and depth that always amazes visitors.

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MADE UP

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Curated collaboratively by a team drawn from partner galleries and Liverpool Biennial, and under the artistic direction of Lewis Biggs, the MADE UP theme was explored in a series of inflections presented across galleries and public spaces throughout the city. MADE UP at the Bluecoat explored imagined futures – individual and collective, utopian and dystopian; Tate Liverpool and Open Eye Gallery considered the ambiguous territory between the real and the unreal; FACT [Foundation for Art and Creative Technology] focused on the power of the mind to make up meaning when faced with complete abstraction and extreme sensory deprivation. The public realm projects continued to be a defining feature of Liverpool Biennial’s International exhibition, with 15 of the commissions situated in the public realm. MADE UP outside the gallery allowed fiction to rub up against the real, inviting artists to carve out space for the imagination in the everyday, whether in imaginary models made manifest as real examples, or playful re-workings of the real.

£26.6m visitor spend

Sarah Sze, Just Now Dangle Still, 2008


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David Altmejd, The Holes, 2008

451,000 visitors

Nancy Davenport, Workers (Leaving the Factory), 2008


“Nothing can top the Biennial…the City was turned into a giant canvas for artists, sculptors and exhibitionists.” www.liverpool.com

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975,000 visits

Yayoi Kusama, Gleaming Lights of the Souls, 2008


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“There is playfulness, ingenuity and joy in these works...� David Smith The Observer

Otto Karvonen, Signs for Wobbly Prospects, 2008


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Research tells us it takes ÂŁ57,348 of tourism spend to support 1 full-time equivalent job. This would suggest that the Festival supports 464 full-time equivalent jobs.

Ai Weiwei, Web of Light, 2008


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“ An exhilarating outpouring of artistic licence.� Richard Cork Financial Times

Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Arbores Laetae, 2008

23% of all visitors were on a staying visit, with the average length of stay being 3.6 days.


97% of respondents agreed “Liverpool Biennial is something that people in Liverpool should be proud of ”.

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“…after two days there I felt I’d seen more work of real quality than I did in the whole of last year’s Documenta. Coming as it does after the success of ‘The Age of Steam’ and ‘Gustav Klimt’, it’s a giddy finale to Liverpool’s stint as European Capital of Culture.” Richard Dorment Daily Telegraph

Richard Woods, innovation-investment-progress, 2008


Engaging Art People and Place

Future, Fiction & Fantasy was Liverpool Biennial’s Schools Project involved staff working with MADE UP artists and 18 schools across Merseyside.

Throughout the festival the former ABC Cinema on Lime Street was brought back to life as the festival Visitor Centre, as well as the eerie site for Annette Messager’s installation Là Derniere Séance. The Visitor Centre was the starting point for over 30 specialist tours of the International as well as the Long Night of the Biennial.

“Pupils and teaching staff alike were influenced by the Biennial artists’ practice, and for teachers a very high leverage form of C.P.D.” Teacher

Triangles matched community groups in Liverpool with local artists and either a MADE UP artist or artwork – for example: Nicki McCubbing worked with the Venus Women’s Resource Centre in Bootle creating an installation inspired by Sarah Sze’s Just Now Dangle Still.

“It has made me more keen to look at what’s happening now, and more curious. It’s no longer a fearful thing. I hope to develop some work inspired by some of the artists whose work we looked at.” Teacher

Made Up in Liverpool was a partnership with FACT [Foundation for Art and Creative Technology] to commission young people (12 – 19 years) to make films and present them in their own specially created film festival. Biennial Big Table is a network created by Liverpool Biennial, Garston Cultural Village, Metal (Kensington) and Rotunda (Kirkdale). The network was set up to realise a visual arts programme in the three neighbourhoods (see pages 8 – 9) and the City Centre while simultaneously developing the organisations through peer learning.

Liverpool Biennial Schools Project Workshop, 2008

For the Likes of Us showcased a collaboration between the Big Table organisations and their counterparts in Naples, Marseilles and Gdansk. Inter-view was a web based project involving ten community groups who researched the processes behind MADE UP, generated their own critical commentary of the ongoing development of the exhibition, and finally reviewed the show. One unexpected outcome of our work was the decision by 30 of the team of volunteers, some of whom also happened to be art students, to mount their own response to MADE UP with RE:TOLD. The exhibition took place in the old Arena Studios on Duke Street.

Best Dressed Shop Competition, For the Likes of Us, Garston, 2008

In 2008 Liverpool Biennial’s Archive project was launched – a great achievement that sees the Biennial able to show off 10 years of projects. The archive software is powered by A Database – the online archiving tool created by A Foundation. Liverpool Biennial’s Archive features all of the artwork and artists featured in the International exhibition from the last five festivals – in 1999, 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2008.


International Links Shrinking Cities was a thought provoking exhibition in collaboration with CUBE in Manchester and Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU). Site Gallery in Albert Dock showed the second part of the exhibition, “Shrinking Cities – Interventions”. The RENEW Rooms of RIBA in Liverpool focused on the theme of spatial polarization, which is especially acute in the region, with artworks about Manchester, Liverpool, and Detroit, some of them newly created.

Orion Maxted, Banana, MADE UP Weekend

MADE UP Weekend was a subversive mix of truth seeking amidst make believe with special guests, special events and an extended club-night. This extended the themes of the International with an eclectic series of performances, happenings, talks, debates and fun. Through the European Biennial Network, Liverpool Biennial has been working with the Biennials in Athens, Berlin, Lyons and Istanbul to map out the unique aspects of each event and extend collaborative possibilities.

The touring Martha Rosler Library exhibition, supported by e-flux, was hosted by LJMU and Liverpool Biennial, and included a publication on the seminal library. The Library has travelled to Frankfurt, Antwerp, Berlin, Paris and Edinburgh, as well as Liverpool.

The European Biennial Network aims to promote dialogue, interaction and collaboration between contemporary art Biennials in Europe. It will use the knowledge, experience and information accumulated by organisers of these events, to support communication and mobility among artists and art professionals.

MADE UP Artists’ Talks & Conversations enabled visitors to hear from and question eight of the artists at individual events throughout the festival. Dorit Chrysler at MADE UP Weekend

Biennials are a very successful form of presenting art and interconnecting global tendencies with local experience. The European Biennial Network provides a way for Biennials to relate to each other as constant hubs of activity, continuously benefiting both international exchange and local needs. Liverpool Biennial hosted a meeting of the Network and a public discussion about Biennials during the festival Opening weekend.


Liverpool Biennial would like to thank the artists, funders, partners, staff and trustees who contributed to its success in 2007 and 2008. Supporters Liverpool Biennial was founded by James Moores with the support of

Media Partner

Venue Partners

We’d like to thank everyone who supported us throughout 2007 and 2008 Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York; Art Station, Poznan, Poland; The Australia Council for the Arts; Austrian Cultural Forum; Awards for All; bitforms gallery nyc; The Black-E; Bowmer and Kirkland; Burger Collection, Switzerland and Hong Kong; Centre National des Arts Plastiques; Canada House Arts Trust; The Churches Conservation Trust; Creative New Zealand; Creative Partnerships; Collection Contemporaine; The Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation; The Danish Arts Agency; The Danish Arts Council; The Danish Cultural Institute; Dawes; The Eleanor Rathbone Charitable Trust; Embassy of Denmark, London; Embassy of Finland, London; Embassy of Israel; English Partnerships; The Ernest Cook Trust; EU-Japan Fest; The European Objective 1 Programme; The European Union; The Finnish Institute in London; Fondazione Pier Luigi e Natalina Remotti (Camogli-Genova); The Forestry Commission; FRAME Finnish Fund for Art Exchange; Frensons; Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin; Galerie Marian Goodman; Galleri Christina Wilson; gb agency, Paris; Gimpel Fils; Goethe-Institut, Manchester; The Granada Foundation; The Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation; Hamiltons Gallery; Hannover Kunstverein; Haunch of Venison; The Henry Moore Foundation; Hill Dickinson; Houldsworth Gallery; Hourbike; Italian Cultural Institute; The Japan Foundation; Japan UK 150; LAGP Architects; Lisson Gallery, London; Liverpool Vision; Merepark; The Mersey Forest; Merseytravel; Nogueras Blanchard; The Northern Way; Ota Fine Arts; Pilkington; Pink Summer; Pochin; Pollard Thomas Edwards architects; Postmasters, New York; Pro Helvetia, Swiss Arts Council; Québec Government Office, London; The Rayne Foundation; Sean Kelly Gallery; Stanley Thomas Johnson Foundation; Stuart Shave / Modern Art, London; Swiss Cultural Fund in Britain; Tanqueray; Thomas Dane Gallery, London; UKLP Walker House Ltd; Urban Splash; Urban Strawberry Lunch; U-TURN Quadrennial for Contemporary Art; Victoria Miro; Visiting Arts; Wilkinson Gallery

All photography commissioned by Liverpool Biennial. Front cover image – Yayoi Kusama, Gleaming Lights of the Souls, 2008. Liverpool Biennial PO Box 1200 55 Jordan Street Liverpool L69 1XB United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)151 709 7444 Fax: +44 (0)151 709 7377 info@biennial.com

Registered Address: Liverpool Biennial of Contemporary Art Ltd, PO Box 1200, 55 Jordan Street, Liverpool L69 1XB Registered Charity No. 1073956   Registered as a Company in England and Wales No. 3659361     VAT Registration No. 732988395

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Liverpool Biennial | Review 2007-2008