Liverpool Biennial 2016, the ninth edition of this art fair, will be starting soon. As a free festival of newly commissioned work from around the world, it is the largest contemporary art festival in the UK. Recently, the whole program was announced by Sally Tallant, a director of Liverpool Biennial, and a leading curator of the festival. All in all, it will represent the new work of 42 artists from 25 countries, together with 10 associate artists working in the North of England, showcasing all of their art throughout the city.
Consisting of a series of episodes, the Liverpool Biennial will draw inspiration from the city’s past, present, and future. Some of the episodes that will be presented include the Children’s Episode, as the first commissioning program for artists to work in collaboration with children, and the Ancient Greece, as the inspiration behind many of Liverpool’s greatest buildings. There will also be a Chinatown episode, cherishing the Europe’s oldest Chinese community in Europe that is in Liverpool, as well as the Flashback episode, envisioned as the artists’ new interpretation of history. Then, there is the Software, for opening up the new perspectives and interactions between art and technology, and the episode named Monuments From the Future, for the visions of the imagined Liverpool’s future.
Reflecting on the past and the Liverpool’s radical political history, there will be one special show. For this show, Japanese artist Koki Tanaka will revisit the scene of the mass protest that was held in Liverpool in 1985. The demonstration was against the Conservative government’s Youth Training Scheme at the time, and it involved around 10,000 children. Koki Tanaka has found some of the original participants of the protest, so he will bring them back together, accompanied by their own children for a walk through the original demonstrating route. They will walk the city, from St George’s Hall to the Pier Head. Besides that, children will conduct the interviews for the Tanaka’s documentary of the project, which will be shown later on at the Open Eye Gallery. Another film will be on screen during the Liverpool Biennal. It is the Dream English Kid, a film by the video artist Mark Leckey, which was inspired by events in his life from the 1970s to 1990s. The film will be presented together with new sculptural works in the Saw Mill, the former entrance to the famous Liverpool nightclub Cream.
The Liverpool Biennial program will be running from July 9 to October 16, 2016. Among the locations for this year's Biennial will be the Cains Brewery building on Stanhope Street, the art deco 'palace', the former ABC Cinema, and the Oratory, as well as the Liverpool streets, pubs, hotels, restaurants, supermarkets, and the main visual art venues in the city, including Tate Liverpool, FACT, Open Eye Gallery and Bluecoat. At the Cains Brewery, for instance, there will be a show that features the work of 15 artists from around the world. Also, it will show the work of Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh, and Hesam Rahmanian, who are exiled in Dubai, but they have sent a shipping container full of the pieces from their art collection to be shown in Liverpool. Besides that, partner exhibitions during Liverpool Biennial will be John Moores Painting Prize at the Walker Art Gallery, and the Bloomberg New Contemporaries at the Bluecoat.
Featured image: Dave Sinclair - Youth Training Scheme Protest Liverpool, 25 April 1985 (detail) - © Dave Sinclair
Slider images: Cains Brewery – Photo: Oleksander Burlaka - Courtesy of Liverpool Biennial; Hermaphrodite - Image © National Museums Liverpool (World Museum); Ian Cheng - Emissary Forks at Perfection, 2015 (detail) - Courtesy of the artist, Standard Oslo and Pilar Corrias; Koki Tanaka with Emeka Onuora, original participant of the Youth Training Scheme Protest in Liverpool – Photo: Mark McNulty - Courtesy of Liverpool Biennial