THE EAVESDROPPER Artist intervention at the Walker Art Gallery

The interesting characters and stories from the Walker Art Gallery’s Victorian paintings will be ‘unlocked’ in free performances by artist Aaron Williamson on the 15, 16 and 17 November 2012.

Williamson researched the collection and ‘eavesdropped’ on their stories during a residency at the Walker Art Gallery commissioned by disability and deaf arts organisation DaDaFest as part of Niet Normaal, in partnership with Liverpool Biennial and National Museums Liverpool.

While investigating the works, Williamson delved into archive correspondence and explored the background of the models and pets featured within the works.

Inspired by his findings Williamson has devised a set of performances, which will occupy the Victorian painting room at the Walker. By echoing the figures in the paintings and adopting their poses Williamson will ‘free’ the characters from the works and offer onlookers a new perspective.

Aaron Williamson said: ‘As artist in residence I have delved deep into the hidden world behind the scenes at the Walker Art Gallery. I have learnt that there is a huge wealth of information on the paintings which is not widely known and cannot feasibly be squeezed onto gallery labels. As the Eavesdropper I am going to expose the concealed truths about the models in the Victorian paintings by revealing their untold stories.’

In addition to the performance, the public can join the gallery staff for a tour of the artworks which have inspired Williamson during his residency. There will also be a text written by the artist, which explains further his incursions into the paintings and the highlights of his research.

Continuing with the investigation into the models ‘trapped’ within the paintings, Williamson will be leading two life drawing sessions. No experience of life drawing is required to take part in these informal sessions, and a selection of artist materials will be available as well as gallery staff to offer inspiration and tips.

Lucy Gardner, Assistant Curator of Fine Art at Walker Art Gallery said ‘It has been an extremely rewarding experience working with Aaron through his residency this summer. Aaron has been asking new questions of the paintings and his attentions and sympathies have become focussed on the models, which are trapped for eternity within the paintings, and his performance and related events will bring extra life to these characters.’

Ruth Gould, CEO of DaDaFest said: ‘We are really pleased to feature Aaron’s performance as part of DaDaFest 2012 . Aaron is a leading figure in Disability and Deaf Arts and his residency and resulting performance at the Walker has offered a unique and fascinating perspective on their collection.’

The Eavesdropper performance

Thursday 15 November 10am -1pm and 2pm – 4pm

Friday 16 November 10am -1pm and 2pm – 4pm

Saturday 17 November 10am – 1pm and 2pm – 4pm.

The performance will be audio described by Mind’s Eye on Saturday 17 November from 10am till 1pm.

The Eavesdropper tours

Thursday 15 November 11am, Friday 16 November 2pm and Saturday 17 November 11am and 2pm

2pm Tour Saturday – BSL interpreted

Join gallery staff for a tour focusing on the Victorian artworks that have inspired artist Aaron Williamson during his residency at the Walker Art Gallery.

Drop-in event, no need to book.

Life Drawing

Thursday 15 November 2-4pm and Friday 16 November 11am-1pm

Always wanted to try life drawing but didn’t know how? Then why not join us for an informal self-led drawing session inspired by the Walker’s Artist in Residence Aaron Williamson, his project The Eavesdropper and his interpretation of the models trapped within the paintings in the Walker’s Victorian art collection.

Borrow a selection of artist quality materials and draw upon the knowledge of our gallery staff who can offer ideas to inspire you and tips on the use of materials. No experience necessary, access will be provided.

Places must be pre-booked, email including your access requirements, or telephone 0151 707 1733.

About Aaron Williamson

Aaron Williamson is a British artist (b 1960). He was awarded 2008 New Media Artist of the Year (FACT and DaDaFest). In 2010 Aaron was the Adam Reynolds artist in residence at Spike Island, resulting in an exhibition of solo and collaborative video works, made with artist collectives 15mm Films and the Disabled Avant-Garde, both of which Aaron founded. Recently he has been creating impromptu public performances in Taiwan and Buenos Aries, and for ‘Eruptio’ art festival in Transylvania, 2011. He has performed at many national and international museums and galleries including the Victoria and Albert Museum, Glass Curtain Gallery, Chicago and at the 2nd DaDao Festival held in Beijing.

‘As an artist my engagement with performance, objects, place and space is transformed through the experience of becoming profoundly deaf over the course of twenty years. Informed by this radical personal alteration, my art practice takes an interdisciplinary approach. Hence, my artistic projects remain open to innovation according to circumstance. I have explored working with performance, installation, photography, video, sculpture, text, choreography and digital art – often combining elements within one work.’

About DaDaFest                                                                                              

DaDaFest is an innovative disability arts organisation based in Liverpool.  Working to the Social Model of Disability and aiming towards an inclusive social understanding of disability, DaDaFest delivers the festival and other arts events to promote high quality disability and deaf arts from a unique cultural perspective. It also produces opportunities for disabled and d/Deaf people to access the arts, including training and a young people’s programme. DaDaFest is firmly rooted in Liverpool but works throughout the North West and United Kingdom as well as internationally.

The festival in 2012 included a wide programme of events, talks, exhibition and workshops, engaging with over 104,697 people in arts venues across Liverpool.

DaDaFest’s  ‘grass roots’ work engages directly with Disabled and Deaf artists and communities to ensure every aspect of delivery reflects the wants and needs of Disabled and Deaf people.

To find out more about DaDaFest go to or follow @DaDaFest on Twitter.




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