A World of Art on Merseyside; Arts Editor Catherine Jones Shares Her Top Picks for This Year's Liverpool Biennial

Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England), September 13, 2010 | Go to article overview

A World of Art on Merseyside; Arts Editor Catherine Jones Shares Her Top Picks for This Year's Liverpool Biennial


Byline: Catherine Jones

IT'S September, it's an "even" year, so it can only mean one thing - the Liverpool Biennial is coming. The UK's leading contemporary art event takes over the city for 10 weeks from Saturday.

Hundreds of artists and dozens of venues are involved in the sixth Biennial. And, best of all, it's free.

Dip in, dip out, or shake it all about.

Or drop in to the visitors' centre in the former Rapid Hardware store in Renshaw Street where the ground floor has been turned into a forest glade complete with picnic benches and summerhouses.

Biennial commissions are spread across venues from the Open Eye Gallery and A Foundation to the Tate, Bluecoat, Black-E, Ropewalks and both cathedrals.

The 'Indie's' meanwhile are radiating out from the city centre as far as Wirral and Hightown.

Here are some of my personal picks. Everyone will have their own favourites.

And you can keep up to date with events on the ECHO website www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/biennial as well as in the paper.

Happy Biennial!

Laura Belm/Temple of a Thousand Bells - Oratory BRAZILIAN artist Laura Belm has filled the rafters of the early 19th century Oratory with one thousand glass bells.

The hand-blown bells are accompanied by a polyphonic soundtrack, creating a 3-D effect in the grade I listed former chapel next to Liverpool Cathedral.

Belm's work is a new commission for this year's Biennial, with the bells created at one of the UK's few surviving traditional glass blowing workshops, the Glass Blobbery in Corwen, North Wales.

The Oratory has a long association with the Biennial stretching back to the inaugural event in 1999.

John Moores Prize - Walker Art Gallery THIS year more than 3,000 people entered what is the biggest contemporary painting prize competition in the UK.

On Thursday we'll discover who of the 45 shortlisted artists - including five with Liverpool connections - has scooped the pounds 25,000 first prize.

Previous John Moores winners include David Hockney, and who knows what star of the present or future you may discover in the prize exhibition which opens at the Walker this weekend? Jamie Isenstein - Tate Liverpool SHE comes from a profession used to suffering for their art, but for Jamie Isenstein her art is both a performance and an endurance test.

The Oregon-born, New York-based artist is creating a new work at the Tate which she will then herself inhabit for the entire length of the 10-week Biennial.

Previous artworks which she has become part of include an armchair, a magic lamp and a bear-skin rug.

This time the 35-year-old is turning herself into a fire hosereel.

Isenstein is one of nine artists showing work at Tate Liverpool.

City States - Contemporary Urban Centre MORE than 50% of the world's population currently lives in one, and City States presents a series of international exhibitions exploring the cultural dynamics between cities and states.

Thus Jerusalem, Vilnius (a current European Capital of Culture), Quebec, Taipei, Seoul, plus the Nordic countries and a "Caribbean pavilion" will come together at the CUC in Greenland Street.

A world under one (considerable) roof in a building which frankly is interesting enough to be a visitor destination in its own right.

Cuban Artists - 52 Renshaw Street EXPECT the unexpected when no fewer than 20 Cuban artists descend on Liverpool during the 10-week Biennial - at the rate of two a week.

The massive upper floor of the old Rapid store becomes a blank canvas for the final act of Tania Bruguera's legendary C[sz]tedra Arte de Conducta from Havana.

It boasts "continuing actions" by 20 Cuban artists recreating performance art pioneer Allan Kaprow's Happenings (described by him as "a game, an adventure, a number of activities engaged in by participants for the sake of playing") and staging new performances and events. …

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