Liverpool Biennial – Touched: Public Realm | The Human Stain | Re:Thinking Trade | Catedra Arte de Conducta

imagePublic Realm | The Human Stain | Re:Thinking Trade | Catedra Arte de Conducta
18 September – 28 November 2010
Liverpool Biennial presents Touched, the International 10 exhibition as part of Liverpool Biennial 2010. Public Realm | The Human Stain | Re:Thinking Trade | Catedra Arte de Conducta, curated by Lorenzo Fusi.

PUBLIC REALM | Curated by Lorenzo Fusi
Artists:Rosa Barba, Laura Belem, Emese Benczur, Danica Dakic, Song Dong, Alfredo Jaar, Will Kwan, Cristina Lucas, Tala Madani, Kris Martin, NS Harsha, Raymond Pettibon, Do Ho Suh, Ryan Trecartin and Hector Zamora.

The ambivalence implicit in the title of the exhibition (a chiasm insisting on a scheme of mutual reciprocity: who / what has touched whom / what and who / what is touched by whom / what?) provides the field of our investigation. Particularly in the public realm (where the distinctions between the makers and consumers of art are often blurred and their roles interchangeable) it’s very complex to assess who is the active agent and who’s the passive receiver.

The dystopic scenario that has resulted from the fall of ideologies and the deconstruction of faiths and belief, has redefined the relation between reality and art. But most significantly, it questions artists’ (and everyone else’s) authority. The impact and relevance of individual authority in most political and social processes of decision-making seem very limited, although the entire globe is slowly moving towards a diffused democratic sovereignty. What is it then that is still missing?

Even amongst the most radical fringes of political discourse and theoretical / philosophical thinking (i.e. Antonio Negri), the answer seems now to be: love. The reconciliation between art and a multifaceted understanding of love or affection (that doesn’t exclude its opposite, that’s to say hate) represents the core element of this section of the exhibition. A more holistic approach to life, that’s reflected in the enlarging mirror of art.  “A painter speaks with his entire body, maintains Valéry. And, in fact, a Spirit that could paint has yet to be seen” (Maurice Merleau-Ponty).

Various venues – view the details

The Human Stain | Curated by Lorenzo Fusi
Artists: Oren Eliav, Tim Eitel, Y.Z. Kami, Csaba Kis Róka, Edi Hila, Aime Mpane, Markus Schinwald and Zbynek Sedlecky

This part of ‘Touched’ is a visual and emotional journey that progresses through the inner labyrinths of the Self. We proceed through it by degrees, penetrating the different layers that separate the notion of collectivity from the Freudian Id – the rioting sphere of the unexpressed or repressed Self. These degrees are envisioned as short stories to be read either as a continuous narrative or separately. Each step of this journey towards the intimacy of the Self is titled after a book that somehow suggests an atmosphere or state of mind. The sequence unfolds as follows:

The Cement Garden (Zbynek Sedlecky)
Confessions of a Public Speaker (Oren Eliav)
One, No one and One Hundred Thousand (Aime Mpane, Y. Z. Kami)
The Anatomy of Melancholy (Edi Hila)
The Seed of Lost Souls (Tim Eitel)
Naked Lunch (Csaba Kis Róka, Markus Schinwald)

Venue: 52 Renshaw Street, L1 4PN
Tel: 0845 220 2800
Open: daily 10.00–18.00
Further details

Re:Thinking Trade | Curated by Lorenzo Fusi
Artists: Minerva Cuevas, Anton Vidokle and Julieta Aranda, Daniel Knorr, Meschac Gaba, Karmelo Bermejo, Freee and Lee Mingwei.

Since the social activism of the 1960s, many artists have taken a critical stance towards both capitalism and the dominant consumerism of ‘advanced’ societies. Bypassing, resisting, or intervening in the mechanisms of late capitalism, they have sought to make ‘socially relevant’ art that works outside or against the constraints of capitalism and consumerism, returning producer and consumer to a more human relationship.

Re:Thinking Trade proposes to touch the city through ‘art re-appropriation’. Disused retail spaces will be revived as temporary venues for art-projects. Newly conceived artworks (and some existing ones not previously presented in the UK) will offer the viewer, or ‘customer’, a wide range of experiences and a variety of alternative ways to trade their time and attention in exchange for a benefit. At times the benefit will be a tangible product. More often it will be a ‘gift’ from the artist, more ethereal and impalpable: an intellectual or emotional device to touch the recipient’s general wellbeing or self-perception. 

Venue: 52 Renshaw Street, L1 4PN
Tel: 0845 220 2800
Open: daily 10.00–18.00
Further details

Catedra Arte de Conducta | Curated by Lorenzo Fusi
Founded by Cuban artist Tania Bruguera in 2002, Catedra Arte de Conducta was an informal institution dedicated to producing a new generation of Cuban artists. Concentrating on live art, the Catedra used the city and its social realities as its creative material. The school is now closed: its inclusion in ‘Touched’ will represent the last and conclusive chapter in its history.

Art touches a city most effectively when a personal change (in response to an artwork) is collectively experienced. If this change in self-awareness empowers people to take action and responsibility for their lives and their environment, art has touched the city in its complexity. To make something that is at once political and poetic remains very difficult indeed. We hope that in Liverpool the Catedra will provide a range of responses to this challenge, and also show how the notion of embodiment can shift into that of emplacement to introduce art, people and place to each other effectively.  

The Catedra Arte de Conducta will investigate two themes: the utopian city / ideal society; and the legacy of American performance artist Allan Kaprow, through the reinterpretation of one of his seminal works. The project will be a blank canvas at the time of the opening, unrolling through the exhibition period. Gradually, different actions by the twenty artists involved will sediment and accumulate, taking the shape of a group show in progress. Polyphonic, inclusive, self-reflective, analytical and critical, experimental, engaging, stimulating, anti-monumental, fluid: these are some of the words to define this idea. The guiding principle is not to provide a preset response, standing there for all to admire, but to show the processes and intimate motivations behind making and thinking.

Venue: 52 Renshaw Street, L1 4PN
Tel: 0845 220 2800
Open: daily 10.00–18.00

For full details on Liverpool Biennial, visit the website