Liverpool Biennial 2016, a first impression

Liverpool Biennial Launch, photo by Tony Knox
Liverpool Biennial Launch: Fransesco Manacorda speaking at Tate Liverpool, photo by Tony Knox

Biennial Opening Conference
Tate Liverpool
7 July 2016

Forty-four artists, twenty-two sites, six episodes and eleven dedicated curators present the ninth Liverpool Biennial opening this Saturday announced the Biennial Director Sally Tallant at the opening conference in Tate Liverpool.

Sally outlined the series of episodes threading all the entries together, drawing inspiration from Liverpool’s past, present and future. These episodes are as follows:

  • Children’s Episode, the Biennial’s first comprehensive commissioning programme for artists to work collaboratively with children
  • Ancient Greece, the inspiration behind many of Liverpool’s grandest buildings
  • Chinatown, acknowledging Liverpool’s heritage as Europe’s oldest Chinese community
  • Flashback, artists’ new interpretation of history
  • Software, opening up new perspectives and interactions with technology
  • Monuments from the Future where artists imagine what Liverpool might look like in the future.

Partners The John Moores Painting Prize Exhibition at the Walker Art Gallery and the Bloomberg New Contemporaries at the Bluecoat will continue to form part of the Biennial Programme this year.

Alongside the visual art is an extensive performance, film and talks programme. Highlights include performances by artist and choreographer Michael Portnoy, and a promenade performance by Dennis McNulty during the opening weekend.

Exhibitions and performances will take place throughout the city in Liverpool’s museums and galleries as well as unexpected and unusual sites e.g. the counter of a Chinese supermarket, the historic Cains Brewery, a terrace house in Granby, and outside the ventilation shaft of the Mersey Tunnel.

Sally Tallant commented that ‘this is an exciting time for us’ going on to highlight not only the very best of domestic and international artists taking part but also how her team ‘worked closely with Liverpool City Council on a number of initiatives based on the objective that every young person in the city has access to ‘culture’ on the curriculum’. Watch out for the three Arriva buses that have been turned into moving artworks designed by school children in collaboration with design studio Hato!

Claire McColgan, Head of Culture Liverpool said Liverpool Biennial 2016 reflected Liverpool’s desire to be extraordinary saying it was ‘helping us look at how we work and build the city, demonstrating a confidence we didn’t have prior to being the European City of Culture in 2008’.

Alison McGovern, Labour MP for Wirral South went on to say that ‘Sally and Claire are clever, tenacious women’ and the Biennial is a very important opportunity to ‘tell the world what we believe in and what we hold dear…to bring people together and create a positive future’.

The Liverpool Biennial 2016 runs from 9 July – 16 October 2016

For more information see www.biennial.com