Monday, December 4, 2023
HomeArt Review'Changing Places' at Walker & Lady Lever

‘Changing Places’ at Walker & Lady Lever

Photo: Phil Sayers alongside one of his artworks

Changing Places
Phil Sayers and Rikke Lundgreen
Temporary installation

This is a fascinating project. I only saw a couple of the pieces in the Walker, looking forward to seeing the rest. There is great use of light in the picture shown here, they are photographs and there has been some digital manipulation to stitch the various components together but the finished products are very painterly.

For their project ‘Changing Places’ the artists Phil Sayers and Rikke Lundgreen have made artworks which reinterpret selected paintings and sculptures in the collections of the Walker and Lady Lever Art Galleries.

19th century images that depict women as passive, submissive objects of male desire are of particular interest to them. Other themes, including gender, identity, myths, ageing and the architecture and ‘power’ of the galleries are also a focus for their work. The artists seek to connect our everyday experiences with precedents from art historical sources.

Phil Sayers and Rikke Lundgreen have worked together for seven years. They have received much critical acclaim for their character performances in photographs and video works made in response to art historical sources. Recurrent themes in their work are power, ageing, death, sexuality, mirroring, doubling, sameness and difference. Much of it assumes a feminist perspective which gently and ironically critiques aspects of our cultural heritage. Lundgreen is a woman, Sayers cross-dresses.

Sayers attempts to challenge the stigma and stereotypes that marginalise the transvestite in Western society and culture by masquerading as the female subject in reconstructions of historical artworks. Such issues of gender are more commonly explored by female artists.

Lundgreen makes videos and photographs that often also respond to genres of cinema or historical paintings. For Changing Places she has made a series of works invoking a kind of ghost or spirit. From copying a dying girl’s pose to re-filming historical sites or buildings, she reinterprets tales and myths from a personal perspective.

Their artworks are displayed in various locations around the galleries, as ‘interventions’, in amongst the collection displays that inspired them.