Liverpool Biennial 2014 Programme Announced

Norma Jeane, 2011. Courtesy of Giulio di Gropello . Photo credit: Tommaso Zamarchi

The programme of Liverpool Biennial 2014, which will take place from 5 July – 26 October 2014, was announced today by the Biennial’s Director, Sally Tallant.

Liverpool Biennial 2014 will open to the public on Saturday 5 July. A highlight of the opening weekend is a major concert at Liverpool Cathedral on the evening of Saturday 5 July of a specially composed new work by Michael Nyman, Symphony No 11: Hillsborough Memorial. The piece will be performed by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, with Liverpool-born mezzo-soprano Kathryn Rudge and Liverpool Philharmonic Youth and Training Choirs, conducted by Josep Vicent.

A Needle Walks into a Haystack

The 2014 Biennial Exhibition, A Needle Walks into a Haystack, is curated by Mai Abu ElDahab and Anthony Huberman and will take place in seven venues: including the historic Trade Union Centre on Hardman Street, Tate Liverpool, the Bluecoat, FACT, and in the public realm.

As part of A Needle Walks into a Haystack, a group show will be presented in the centre of the city in the former Trade Union Centre / School for the Blind, a neo-classical building dating from 1932. Designed by Anthony Minoprio and Hugh Spencely, the building’s 1932 extension features art deco reliefs by John Skeaping, one of the leading figures of British modern sculpture in the mid 20th century.

Marc Bauer, The Collector Ballroom, 2013
Marc Bauer, The Collector Ballroom, 2013

Continuing its commitment to producing new work and this year, also inviting artists to show some of their previous projects, the Biennial group show will include work by Uri Aran (Israel), Marc Bauer (Switzerland), Bonnie Camplin (UK), Chris Evans (UK), Rana Hamadeh (Lebanon), Louise Hervé & Chloé Maillet (France), Judith Hopf (Germany), Aaron Flint Jamison (US), Norma Jeane (US), Nicola L. (FR), William Leavitt (US), Christina Ramberg (US), Michael Stevenson (New Zealand), Josef Strau (Austria), Peter Wächtler (Germany) and Amelie Von Wuffen.

Alongside the group show, A Needle Walks into a Haystack will feature four solo presentations:

  • A transformation of Tate Liverpool’s Wolfson Gallery by the legendary French architect, Claude Parent, one of the avant-garde’s most revered and radical figures. Slanted floors and ramps demand that the audience experience the museum anew, in a plan devised through his theory of Fonction Oblique, and including works from the Tate’s collection by Anne Albers, Babette Mangolte, Gustav Metzger, Francis Picabia, Gillian Wise and others.
  • An exhibition devoted to James McNeill Whistler at the Bluecoat including a recreation of Whistler’s Harmony in Blue and Gold: The Peacock Room, commissioned by the Liverpool-based ship owner F.R. Leyland.
  • The first solo show in the UK of American artist and filmmaker, Sharon Lockhart, at FACT.
  • The takeover of an apartment in Liverpool for a series of screenings and conversations around the work of experimental Belgian TV director, Jef Cornelis, exploring the relationship between television and art, documentary and artist films.
Josef Strau, Exercises, 2013 (installation) Courtesy of the artist and Greene Naftali, New York. Photograph: Jason Mandella
Josef Strau, Exercises, 2013 (installation) Courtesy of the artist and Greene Naftali, New York. Photograph: Jason Mandella

Also as part of A Needle Walks into a Haystack there will be an ambitious programme of talks, screenings and other events throughout the Biennial period. Over the weekend of 19-21 September, a programme of performances titled The Companion will take place, which will mirror and reflect on various times of the day: artists appear in cafés during breakfast, at bus stops during the morning commute, in a pharmacy during an afternoon errand, or in a theatre right after dinner.

In parallel to the Biennial Exhibition, the Biennial will also present a co-commission with Tate Liverpool and 14-18 NOW, the official cultural programme for the First World War Centenary Commemorations. Venezuelan artist, Carlos Cruz-Diez, will paint a version of a ‘Dazzle Ship’, in partnership with National Museums Liverpool. The Edmund Gardner vessel, conserved in Merseyside Maritime Museum, will be ‘dazzled’ in dry dock adjacent to Albert Dock Liverpool.

Also featured as part of Liverpool Biennial 2014 are the John Moores Painting Prize, Bloomberg New Contemporaries and exhibitions at Open Eye Gallery and the Exhibition Research Centre at Liverpool John Moores University. In addition, there will be work by artists and curators in solo and group shows and performances throughout the city, ranging from the artist-run space The Royal Standard to the Walker Art Gallery.

To accompany the 2014 Biennial Exhibition, there will be a publication co-edited by art historian Camille Pageard, and including new texts by the curators and by Keren Cytter (Israel), Angie Keefer (US), Hassan Khan (Egypt), Kari Larsson (Sweden), Eileen Myles (US), Lisa Robertson (Canada) and Matthew Stadler (US) with drawings by Abraham Cruzvillegas (Mexico).

Sally Tallant, Director of Liverpool Biennial, said:

“Liverpool Biennial 2014 will activate and highlight our city’s diverse cultural ecology and host exciting artists and thinkers connecting the community with international fields.

It’s been very exciting and thought provoking to initiate a conversation across the city on what a model for our Biennial can be and work together towards it. The richness of this city and its history make it an important focal point for presenting the UK Biennial.”

Full details of the programme are available from the Liverpool Biennial website:


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