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Tate Liverpool stages Lucy McKenzie retrospective


Tate Liverpool is presenting the first UK retrospective of Scottish artist Lucy McKenzie.

The exhibition draws together around 80 of the 44-year-old’s artworks dating from 1997 onwards.

They include tromp l’oeil works, large-scale architectural paintings, film, fashion and design which coves a wide range of the Glasgow-born McKenzie’s artistic practice.

The exhibition highlights the themes that have interested McKenzie throughout her career so far, including how ideology influences the representation of women, the iconography of international sport, music subcultures, post-war muralism and the exploration of the frictions between public and private space.

The Brussels-based artist is particularly known for reviving the tradition of trompe l’oeil painting - images that are so convincingly real that they literally 'deceive the eye'. She has created realistic renderings of materials such as marble, wood and cork, taking the shape of tabletops and pinboards.

Tate Liverpool is showing a number of large-scale installations including Loos House and the monumental paintings May of Teck, Town/Gown Conflict and Kensington 2246 which together form a U-shaped room.

These paintings combine a variety of interior designs by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Victor Horta, and others, enlarging small watercolour sketches and presentation drawings to one-to-one architectural scale.

Lucy McKenzie Retrospective at Tate Liverpool


The retrospective also includes bar staff uniform and furniture from McKenzie's 2003 work Nova Popularna where she and artist Paulina Olowska ran an underground bar of the same name in Warsaw for a month, designing its interior, working behind the bar and staging concerts and performances.

In 2007 McKenzie founded Atelier EB with Scottish designer Beca Lipscombe, and what started as an interior design company with the illustrator Bernie Reid gradually shifted toward fashion and clothing.

Through this she investigates the complex relationship between art and fashion, from Worlds’ Fairs and heritage exhibitions to department stores and retail showrooms.

The first iteration of the exhibition was shown at Museum Brandhorst in Munich from September 2020 to this June, when it was called Lucy McKenzie: Prime Suspect.

Artist Lucy McKenzie at Tate Liverpool


Tate Liverpool dircector Helen Legge says: "I'm completely thrilled to be hosting the first UK retrospective of Lucy's work.

"Many of us have followed her work over a 20 year period from her earliest degree show works which are on show here. I always felt the work was rigorous, compelling and challenging, and often quite mysterious to me.

"I think what a successful exhibition does for me is that in bringing bodies of work together in a single space, you begin to understand the artist's ongoing preoccupations and themes."

Lucy McKenzie studied in Dundee and Karlsruhe in Germany.

She first came to prominence when she won the EAST award at EASTinternational in 1999, which was selected by fellow Scot Peter Doig (the 1993 John Moores Painting Prize winner) and Canadian artist Roy Arden.

The Lucy McKenzie Retrospective is at Tate Liverpool until March 27, 2022. Tickets are £10/£9.