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Liverpool Biennial reveals outdoor chapter and online portal

Liverpool Biennial will open as expected this weekend – but with an ‘outside chapter’ of sculpture, sound and digital commissions.

The postponed event, titled The Stomach and the Port, is due to run from March 20 to June 6. But Government restrictions under the Covid lockdown roadmap mean the earliest that arts venues will be able to reopen their doors is May 17.

Along with the outdoor commissions, the Biennial – the UK’s leading contemporary art festival – has also announced a Biennial Online Portal.

Interim Biennial Director Sam Lackey said today: “We’re so proud to be opening The Stomach and the Port on March 20.

“The committed spirit from our artists, our partners and the city to present the Biennial amidst the pandemic has been resolute, enabling us to create a model that can safely bring art to the public and adapt to the changing patterns of life that COVID-19 presents us with moving forwards.

“Now is a vital time to breathe new life and energy into Liverpool and the wider community, spearheading the process of cultural recovery. Our hybrid approach to opening the Biennial will ensure we can continue to present an ambitious programme throughout late spring and summer, offering an extraordinary, shared experience that will empower and inspire, reasserting Liverpool’s reputation as a nerve centre for art and culture.

“As soon as the Government’s restrictions are lifted, we can’t wait to open the doors to the physical exhibitions on display at our partner venues across the city.”

The outdoor commissions are:

Larry Achiampong: Pan African Flags for the Relic Travellers’ Alliance – city centre

This forms part of Relic Traveller, a multi-disciplinary project that builds upon a postcolonial perspective.

A series of flags, displayed across 10 sites within the city centre, will comprise the original set of four, with each design featuring 54 stars to represent the 54 countries of Africa, along with a new set to be shown for the 2021 Biennial.

Rashid Johnson: Stacked Heads – Canning Graving Dock

This large-scale sculpture at Canning Graving Dock is formed with two distinct head parts in the style of a totem.

Made from bronze and furnished with yucca and cacti plants, the work takes inspiration from his series of drawings Anxious Men.

Linder: Bower of Bliss – Liverpool ONE

A major new billboard located within Liverpool ONE forms part of the artist’s Bower of Bliss constellation which has its origins in a copy of Oz magazine, which she bought at the Bickershaw Festival in 1972.

Jorgge Menna Barreto: Mauvais Alphabet - Bluecoat

The work, being shown on the side of Bluecoat and documenting weeds and wild edibles found in Liverpool, has been made in collaboration with students from Liverpool John Moores University and local mural artist Anna Jane Houghton.

Teresa Solar: Osteoclast (I do not know how I came to be on board this ship, this navel of my ark) – Exchange Flags

Solar’s work, positioned at Exchange Flags, is composed of five kayaks, each sculpture reflecting the shape of a human bone. It draws parallels between bones - carriers of tissues, veins and cell communities, message pathways – and vessels, vehicles of migration, transmitters and connectors of bodies and knowledge.

Daniel Steegmann Mangrané: La Pensée Férale – Crown Street Car Park

Mangrané’s installation features a replica of a Pau Rei, a native tree of the Brazilian Mata Atlántica, imbedded with the eye of an Indian pariah dog from Bangladesh, and surrounded by newly planted Fagus Purpurea Pendula trees.

Sonic and digital commissions hosted on the Biennial Online Portal include:

Ines Doujak and John Barker: Transmission: A series of five Podcasts on Disease and Pandemics in a Distorted World.

UBERMORGEN, Leonardo Impett and Joasia Krysa: The Next Biennial Should be Curated by a Machine

KeKeÇa Body Percussion Ensemble will deliver a series of interactive performances at key moments during the Biennial.

And across the weekend of March 20-21, visitors will be able to take a virtual trail of the new outdoor sculptures and installations and tune into Ines Doujak’s podcast series.

For more details visit the Biennial website HERE


Top: Larry Achiampong Pan African Flag for the Relic Travellers’ Alliance (Ascencion) 2017. Courtesy the artist and Copperfield, London

Above: Teresa Solar at MadFaber Studio, Madrid, 2021. Courtesy the artist. Photography Pablo Alzaga.


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