The Narrators: Rooftop Artwork Heralds New Exhibition at Walker

A weather vane created by artist Chris Evans is a beacon for a new exhibition of contemporary and modern works from the Art Council Collection at the Walker Art Gallery.

Exploring the relationship between objects, architectural space and language, The Narrators: works from the Art Council Collection, runs from 11 October 2013 to 16 March 2014 under The Arts Council Collection Partnerships supported by Christie’s scheme.

Home Entertainment, Evans’ fully functioning weather vane, is perched on the Walker’s roof overlooking historic William Brown Street. With the phrase ‘Home Entertainment’ incorporated into the piece it points to Liverpool’s surrounding residential and shopping areas, and questions the role of the gallery in modern society.

There are around 21 pieces in the exhibition which respond to the Walker’s historic collection of fine and decorative art. Displayed amongst the permanent collection in various parts of the gallery, an intriguing visual dialogue is produced between artworks created centuries apart.

There is also a sculptural element to the selection and the exhibition explores a wide definition of the medium by featuring photographs and drawings as well as more traditional sculptural materials.

An international group of artists include Turner Prize nominee (2009) Lucy Skaer, Northern Art Prize nominees (2013) Tatham and O’Sullivan, John Cage, Becky Beasley and Aiko Miyawaki.


Ann Bukantas, Head of Fine Art said: “The Narrators is an exhibition which weaves around the gallery and brings new context to our historic collections. The Art Council Collection’s works are displayed alongside the Walker’s permanent collection, giving visitors a trail to explore the familiar spaces and works with new insight.

“We’re really pleased to be working with the Arts Council Collection on an exhibition which not only encourages a new perspective on existing displays but also exposes fascinating and unexpected parallels between artists.”

Exhibition highlights:

  • Suncycle, a rarely exhibited art work by British concrete poet and artist Kenelm Cox, is shown in the sculpture gallery.
  • The melancholic and surreal imagery in Becky Beasley’s photographic series, Surface Coverings/The Feral Works features concealed everyday objects inspired by The Burrow (1925), a short story by Franz Kafka. Two 19th century sculptures of Greek mythological figures by Auguste Rodin, one of the first sculptors to use photography during his creative process, are displayed close by. Rodin had close relationships with many writers and poets, such as Rainer Maria Rilke, who wrote extensively about his work, including the Walkers’ Danaid (1901-2). Both artists’ work reveal similar methods of combining images, objects and language to produce meaning.
  • The terror on David Garrick’s face as he plays the role of Richard III in Hogarth’s 1745 painting from the Walker’s collection takes on a new meaning when exhibited above Tatham and O’Sullivan’s HK Marble (Absolute Black Zimbabwe). The thick black letters spell out the stark slogan ‘Heroin Kills’ as Garrick, powerless, looks on.
  • Leonora (The Tyrant) by Lucy Skaer is part of a series of works, inspired by a meeting with the Surrealist artist and novelist Leonora Carrington in Mexico. The 19th-century oak table, inlaid with a mother-of-pearl image of clenched hands is on display in the same room as a Victorian ‘cabinet of curiosities’ which includes the Walker’s cast bronze hand of Pre-Raphaelite artist William Holman Hunt.
  • Three exquisite, elaborate medieval manuscripts from the Walker’s collection reveal centuries of study and interpretation, through annotations and drawings in the margins. The composition of a rare artwork by German-Argentine composer Mauricio Kagel called Escapade of Strings, echoes the geometrical page proportions and margins of the manuscripts. Work by another composer, the American John Cage, who was also a poet and philosopher is also on display. Not wanting to say anything about Marcel, a tribute to his friend Marcel Duchamp, is made up of 8 perspex layers, installed in a random order so that it changes every time it is displayed.

Launching at the same time, local artist-led gallery The Royal Standard will present film, video and audio works selected from the Arts Council Collection. These will be presented alongside a programme of events, talks and an art-writing residency. The Royal Standard exhibition will be on until 17 November (Open Saturday and Sunday or by appointment only). Please check the website for further details: