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30 October 2012

What's love got to do with it?

-Reflections of MA Fine Art practice

This week sees the opening of Plymouth University’s MA degree show in Peninsula Arts. It features selected work across the MA programmes from Photography, Digital Art and Technology, Communication Design, Three Dimensional Design, Architecture, Creative Writing,  and Fine Art; my own work amongst the latter. Of course, I am pleased, in fact, delighted to have recently achieved my MA in Fine Art alongside my peers and I am equally  proud of the exhibition and opportunities it has given as a whole, but when it comes to my own work in the exhibition I have my inhibitions which I aim to cathartically elaborate on in this week’s blog post and use it as a way of thinking through some of my recent thoughts on my MA Fine Art practice. Whilst I appreciate it may be more self-reflective than the usual posts on here, I hope that in my debate it also raises and presents some questions that may reflect the experiences of other artists reading this blog.

Below are some images showing a series of drawings I created for my MA.

My MA project enquired into, ‘how do we know tools’ through embodied and pragmatic processes of using them. In the ‘Tudiculation’ drawings (pictured) different types of hammers (pin/claw/mallet) have been used to pound 16 grams of carbon (representative of the 16kg of carbon in the human body) to create a drawing and indexical trace of the hammer. Capturing both a moment in time and the action of using the tool these drawings become an embodied record of a ‘drawing out’. The marks themselves in the drawings suggest a tool or man-made object has been used to bruise or pound (aka tudiculate) but whether the viewer is aware or not that the drawings have been made with a hammer is irrelevant. I hope that in speculating what made the marks it also questions the wider concept of ‘what is a tool’ and the viewers own experiences of using them.

I won’t go into an overtly long synopsis of my written project report that documented, discussed and contextualised this work in further depth but taking that aside and making a critique of the physical work itself I’d say, on the face of it, it’s not terrible but neither is it breathtakingly original or exciting and is way too ‘serious of itself’ in my opinion. Interestingly, if it had been anyone else’s work I probably wouldn’t be so harsh on it. Double standards? (Or that I am a harsher critic of my own work than I am over other people?) I maintain that my process and reasoning behind this work is sincere, however my problem with the work is that I hated making it. I didn’t enjoy it and have never made work that was so joyless and a discrepancy against everything that makes my work, my own. So much so, it is a release to be able to at last express my opinion openly without it causing risk of compromising my proposed outcomes and intentions. To reveal this crisis of conscious throughout making the work would have resulted in never completing it. “Fine,” you might say, “why not stop making it if it’s such a problem.” Yes, all very well, but then I’d never be completing what I started, never answering what I had proposed to do and possibly in never completing my MA. In other words I was trapped in a creation of my own doing that I had to see through to the end even if that meant challenging my integrity in order to do it.  In terms of personal development it may have had some success, and that completing my objectives and coming to a conclusion of my findings were all the ‘right’ things to do. Certainly it also kept to its justification and methods on a conceptual level, but I had always hoped that an MA would result in a sense of accomplishment and realisation of ‘what sort of artist am I?’ that I could be proud of, instead, I feel I’ve learnt an entirely new perspective on art and my own practice with the urge to move completely away from the work I had made during the process and start anew. Exactly. What sort of artist does that make me?  In what has been an infuriating and emotionally painful process I could now ‘emerge’ to actually learn from it and come out more positive as a result of it?...Weird! And that is what stems into my question for this blog post, is a love for what you are doing important or integral to making artwork? Is integrity also important? Is it possible to make work and not care about it?

As usual with art, I do not doubt that the answer to these questions is most likely to be subjective. But is it?? Even the most business-driven artists like Hirst and Warhol must have at least believed in what they were doing, thought it was cool and/or enjoyed it? Even when they were deliberately taking the piss, they were doing so knowingly because they wanted to, in a slightly contradictory way that still showed its own form of integrity.

On the other side of this question one could argue, that love and sentiment can get in the way of developing or challenging ones practice, prevent it from moving forward. Which I can kind-of agree with and if I can glean one positive from this work, from MA practice it’s that undergoing these difficult changes, decisions and moments of doubt and insecurity have perhaps opened my mind into learning more about art than I may have ever done had I continued to stay within familiarity.

Besides, there was just about one piece that I felt did retain its integrity and that piece is pictured below, titled ‘Tool Chest’.

In, ‘Tool Chest’, the body theme is continued more playfully in the form of a pun on words. Quite literally the tool chest has become a vessel containing a human chest X-ray. The tiered and layers of the tool chest echoes the breathing/expansion of its human equivalent and the rusty flecks in its surface patination show through the image of the X-ray appearing like scar-tissue or decay. This piece acts as a link between tools and the body which is repeated in the drawings.

Maybe if anything this all puts into question my feelings towards the institution of art practice and education than it does of art itself and that whilst at BA level the treatment of practice and theory is more holistic and broader at MA level the cerebral minded verbosity for the sake of verbosity, for me, got in the way of the process of making art, on its positive aspects it enhanced analytical and reflective thinking and the ability to use theory to contextualise practice in more depth but on the negative, this came at a cost of stifling the creativity and spontaneity of making the actual work. Although, oddly, I do not regret undergoing this process for at least it feels better to have experienced both. I will never have aspirations to fill my own practice ever again with the extent of theory that I did on the MA (I am not an academic) but neither will I go on a purely self-indulgent creating spree that lacks purpose or meaning. Ideally, I will aspire to fit somewhere between the two and feel that it is the work that I may go on to make next, post-MA that will most accurately and truly define my beliefs and what I have learnt and what I have chosen to leave behind.

Whilst the success/failure of the work exhibited at Plymouth may/may not be measured by my audience on whether they believe in its integrity or not or whether they care if its maker enjoyed making it; for me, knowing my heart wasn’t in it will always get in the way of any reading of the work. Whether love seemingly may have or have nothing to do with art may also be a romantic sentiment that I may/may not share with others depending on every individuals view, but in terms of a motivating force, to love what you are doing still seems of underlying importance if not imperative to ‘making’ work. This isn’t an argument between the expressive vs. the conceptual ways of working as quite honestly I cannot comprehend what, other than one’s own thoughts, reactions or emotions does motivate? You cannot be motivated by an idea, only the desire to see that idea be made reality and desire is born out of a passion, a want, a need which are all emotive. Even the most scientific of artists are motivated by curiosity in the first instance, whether or not those artists then choose to reveal or conceal themselves within their work is up to them, however I strongly feel that intuition, ‘gut-intsinct’, spontaneity and one’s feelings towards making work are only to be ignored at ones peril.

So what has love got to do with it? Well, if making art, then I still believe it has everything to do with it.

And what next? For those of you that know me, and if interested, then perhaps this will allude to the answer...

“His creative intelligence, stifled by too much theory and too many grades in college, would now become reawakened by the boredom of the shop.*”



*Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M Pirsig

28 October 2012

This is an announcement...

Are you thinking of taking part in Art Weeks 2013? Organising your own exhibition and project, or have been invited to take part? We will share with you what 'curatorial' means to you as an artist, tips and hints in developing your own exhibitions and projects. The event will be suitable for those organising group exhibitions, projects or presenting work together with other artists, even if you are not planning to take part in Art Weeks 2013. The event is open to all SAW members.
The event will cover the following:
- Outline and presentation of our new published A Curatorial Guide for Artists in Somerset (see below)
- Share ideas about your exhibitions and projects
- Identify your needs, your aims and what you wish to achieve
Event Date: Monday 12 November, 2012
Please select one of the following sessions when you make your booking.
Session 1: 11am - 1pm
Session 2: 6pm - 8pm
FREE Event: booking is essential and must be made by 6 November.
Numbers are limited
Email or phone 01458 253800
Location: SAW office, The Town Hall, Langport TA10 9PR
Not a member of SAW yet? Please visit for more details.

22 October 2012

Look before you leap - Matti Braun's 'Gost Log' at Arnolfini

Bumping into a friend whom I studied A-level art with at college in an art exhibition probably isn’t that unusual and nonetheless it was great to see them again after what’s been a long time. However, most of the time when this happens in a gallery I’m not navigating my way gingerly across various sized and placed logs partly submersed in a pool of water. The installation, titled ‘R.T, S.R, V.T’ is by the Cologne-based artist, Matti Braun and makes up the exhibition ‘Gost Log’ at Bristol’s Arnolfini until January 6th 2013. Upon seeing the installation, I was instantly reminded of Richard Wilson’s ‘20:50’, a room filled with oil in which a narrow walkway cuts into the room allowing the viewer to walk into it where the oil mirrors a faultless reflection of the ceiling creating a disconcerting illusion of space. Braun’s installation creates a similar sensation of the ceiling being reflected back into a pool of water. It’s not as effective as Wilson’s possibly because water doesn’t reflect as well as oil (not that it necessarily meant to either, it’s just an observation). Braun’s is also much shallower and invites the viewer to become a part of the work, to leave the safety and security of the gallery and, ‘leap out’ on and into the work. The viewer is both becoming and viewing the work at the same time. Between forty to fifty neatly levelled and sawn logs (cut from a Douglas fir at Westonbirt Arboretum we’re told) of different sizes make the stepping stones which are placed seemingly randomly in the gallery space.
 So, as I tentatively leapt from the safety of the gallery shore and out onto my first tree stump I thought that this was going to be pretty cool! It was, and I traversed my way across the logs making the less daring decision to take the easy and safe route across (whilst the water was only a few inches deep, I didn’t exactly fancy walking around Bristol with wet feet all day). I paused occasionally on one of the island logs to survey my surroundings and attempt to make sense of it all. Yes, it is visually beautiful as a pool of water often is, and the smell of the resin leaking out from the cut logs into the water was also an appeal to the senses, the still and glassy surface of the water meeting the cool crisp geometry of the gallery space was like a minimalist or Zen garden, but I still wondered what it was all about? The water was on black flooring so appeared deeper than it actually was and the resin from the logs also gave it a richer blacker tone. This and the cut logs created for me images of oil and deforestation and pollution, or there was also something blissfully reminiscent of childhood in hoping from one log to another across the water and I wondered if maybe that itself was the point to evoke memories of childhood and challenge viewers break out of their normal gallery viewing habits and ‘take part’ in the work. Yet on reading the information on the piece I realise I wasn’t anywhere close.

 “R.T, a project about an unrealised film by the renowned Bengali filmmaker Satyajit Ray entitled ‘The Alien’. While Ray’s film was eventually banned after negotiations with Hollywood producers, rumours say that the script became later the basis for Spielberg’s classic E.T. Braun recreated the opening scene of the film as a spatial environment-a dark and shimmering lake in the exhibition space...”-Arnolfini catalogue

 Oh, I see. Well, that does at least make sense even if it wasn’t what I read into it. If you read further into how Braun works as an artist the decision to recreate this environment from film makes even more sense,

“Braun is interested in the transit of cultural forms and crafts between different traditions. His paintings, sculptures and installations reflect the way in which meaning changes in shifting contexts. His work is often based on concrete histories and stories of specific people and ideas, but abstracts away from these into his own formal and conceptual explorations.”-Arnolfini catalogue

 Still, out of all the cultural forms to look at in the world how is the decision made to filter it down to making an installation based on E.T? ‘Why not?’You might say. For me it was a case of which came first, the chicken or the egg? Or in other words, which came first the idea of the installation? Or did they both arrive simultaneously one out of the other? Who knows and in many ways it doesn’t matter as I still thought the installation itself was brilliant and certainly got me thinking. I think I dislike the way in which the reasoning behind it is so specific that you would never arrive at that meaning unless you read the literature accompanying it. Although again, I go back to what I said before and that’s if the art work itself is still interesting, relevant, exciting, witty or intriguing [like it is in this case] then does it matter what people read into it? Is there a right or wrong or preferred reading?

Curatorially the exhibition is laid out cleverly so that to get to an area of it you feel as though you have to cross the logs to get there (there is of course access across into the space if needed), but for me it felt a bit disappointing in comparison to the central installation piece. Braun creates replicas of patolas, coloured textiles from Gujarat in India. “Braun’s copies which make no attempt to disguise the fact that they are prints, play on the productivity of the relationship between tradition and modernisation...” They look deliberately blocky or pixelated compared to the originals and when put into the context of the overall exhibition the theme of referencing is evident in this piece and in the installation. In this room of the exhibition there are also prints of the stage version of ‘The Alien’ and concrete props that also featured in the play. Interesting images and I picked up some of the hints that Braun was creating replicas in his work but I would still have never made the connection between the photos of the stage play and the installation had I not read the literature so they were kind of superfluous and weren’t necessarily needed in my opinion. Downstairs the gallery space has been concreted over deliberately unevenly and silk paintings created with UV reactive paint have been hung under black light. Again, as far as viewing experience goes, then the concrete floor was very effective at making me think about how I moved around the room, you couldn’t help but notice it, but unfortunately the paintings themselves didn’t do it for me at all. I couldn’t work any of it out, it felt too much of a mismatch of abstract paintings created by drips in clusters broken up by photographic images. Even after reading what it was about, I still felt that it was almost unbelievably cryptic that began me to question the integrity of the rest of the work in the exhibition. I suppose that’s the leap of faith in art sometimes, whether you trust to believe in it whether it turns out to be a load of bullshit or not. I guess that’s up to you. Does the artist have a responsibility to be honest? This might all be getting a bit too heavy for a blog post and at the moment is all speculating and throwing around thoughts as they come into my head. Some further pondering required methinks!
 It was on my second trip back across the installation that I bumped into my friend, ‘well fancy meeting you here!’ seemed like the obvious thing to say (although I did not appreciate its irony at the time) and we began a quick catch up talk in the middle of the installation on our irrespective logs. This was much to the spectacle of the gallery assistants who seemed to also find our meeting here funny and to the bemusement of the other exhibition goers who had yet to venture out across onto the water. Ho-hum! So whatever it meant, why ever it was there in a way all that really mattered is that we were there to see it, both in the work and of the work and for me in its interactivity, that’s what made it special.
 Matti Braun ‘Gost Log’ can be seen at Arnolfini until January 13th 2013

8 October 2012

Exeter Contemporary Open 2012

Last Tuesday saw my first visit to the Exeter Contemporary Open at the Exeter Phoenix. The annual Open is selected from submissions from artists from the UK and beyond and, I quote, ‘...aims to be a platform for the most talented and emerging artists and to reflect current themes and concerns in contemporary art practice’. I wish I had been to any of the previous Opens but I’m glad I’ve finally had a look, definitely a case of better late than never!

 This year’s selected few are as follows, Chloe Brooks, Anita Delaney, Nisha Duggal, Aly Helyer, Brendan Lancaster, Oliver Lariviere, Ruth Piper, Siobhan Raw and David Theobald. Short listing it to 9 artists out of what I assume must be hundreds of entries must be no easy task, and does leave me wondering if the Exeter Open would benefit from being shown at a larger venue so that more could be shown? Or if less is more at least this exhibition benefits the artists and their work having more scrutiny from being viewed for longer.

Aly Helyer 'An X Lover' (oil and linen on board)
A plus for me, is that the Open is pretty diverse, featuring painters, animation, film, photography and site-specific installation. Aly Helyer’s (pictured) paintings stood out to be my favourite work out of the painters in the show. Distorted faces, creatures, colours, patterns and shapes reminded me of a sort of garish/kitsch Francis Bacon or Picasso. It’s clear to see her inspiration of mythology, deities, creatures and mythology in the work. They were fun and in their imaginativeness also reminded me of the kind of illustration seen in street art. Brendan Lancaster and Oliver Lariviere are the other painters in the show.
 The piece that I think I liked the best in this year’s Open was David Theobald’s ‘Walking holiday in Grindelwald’ (apologies not pictured!) a computer video simulation showing an aerial shot of a virtual inkjet printer that’s slowly printing out holiday snaps from the artists’ holiday in Grindelwald (Switzerland). Not as boring as it may sound written here. The contrast between the artificial looking printer and the sharp, real-to-life realism of the photos its printing out is playful and I read as being questioning relationships between physical memory and digital photography. Anyway it was oddly mesmerising watching this process happen in the gallery context on a monitor that was resting on the floor against the gallery wall.

Ruth Piper 'collage no 2' (collage)
Ruth Piper’s collages (pictured) were bold, jazzy and a joy for the eyes. I didn’t want or particularly need to read that they are, ‘existential diagrams that are influenced by emotional narrative and psychological undercurrents’ in order to appreciate them, but each to their own. Also pictured below, Nisha Duggal and a still from her video animation, ‘The Invisibles’. In the video the artist is pictured in animated form signing to camera the folk/Socialist anthem, The Internationale. This was all a little bit lost on me and I admired the animation style more than the content and political/social message it was portraying.

Nisha Duggal 'The Invisibles' (animated video)

Excitingly, there was one artist in this year’s Open that I had previously heard of, Chloe Brooks whose work I had previously seen at SAW’s ‘A Night of Light’ at Hestercombe last year. Chloe makes architectural forms in response to the space the work is shown in and often uses materials such as cardboard of MDF that are found on site or are recycled. In the Open, a column made from cardboard is inserted into the gallery space and an artificial doorway sticks out in contrast between the contemporary gallery space and historical architecture it is mimicking.

 Further video art from Anita Delaney and photography from Siobhan Raw complete this year’s Open. Overall short and sweet and whilst there was plenty of good and original work there wasn’t really anything that inspired me and I left feeling like I would have just liked to have seen more! I feel like Exeter Open could be bigger and more ambitious without having to compromise on its selection process if it chose to show the work of more artists.
Exeter Contemporary Open is, er, open until November 1st at The Exeter Phoenix. Visit for further details.

1 October 2012

Welcome to Liverpool Biennial 2012

This post marks my fourth Liverpool Biennial. This year the theme is hospitality titled; ‘The Unexpected Guest’ and is the seventh contemporary arts biennial to take place in the city. I have never really noticed or even read too much into any of the themes for the biennial in previous years but this time I did find myself noticing a pattern emerging in the numbers of work about specific places, sites, ideas of identity or nationality, the home and the family cropping up in a lot. Either the themes of thresholds, borders and ‘welcomings’ under the umbrella of hospitality were more prevalent this biennial or quite simply I was paying more attention! Whichever the reason one thing I am certain of is that it was another varied, diverse and exciting display of some of the weirdest, most innovative and wonderful art I have seen in a long time. For those of you who may not be familiar with the biennial (naturally it takes place every two years) is an arts festival featuring national and international contemporary art which takes place in numerous locations throughout the city (usually between September and November). This year’s biennial features 242 artists in 27 locations including a programme of artists’ talks and events. So, a bit like Art Weeks in terms of its format of visitors being equipped with a map of locations within the city and setting out to see some ART! The following is a selection of some of my personal highlights and recommends, enjoy!
(above) Markus Kahre 'No Title', 2012 -LIVERPOOL BIENNIAL LOCATION NO 9 THE MONRO
Did I warn that this post may contain spoilers? Is it possible to ‘spoil’ art? If you’re reading this it may be already too late now, but the image pictured above of an installation by Markus Kahre is my favourite piece from the Biennial. The reason being was for its element of surprise in the same trompe l’oeil style that Magritte and the Surrealists used to apply in their paintings this piece does in reality. Read no further if you don’t want the illusion to be given away! After spending three days out in Liverpool scouring the galleries I was beginning to feel a bit disheartened from seeing so much film art, that was good but I was missing something a bit more experiential or hands on/tangible. So imagine my surprise upon seeing that the location I had been led to on my map, was not a gallery, but a pub! (The Monro to be precise) Upstairs in The Monro in what used to be the Inn was a series of rooms. I didn’t know what to expect but I wasn’t exactly expecting to see what you’d normally find in a room; in the way of a bed, a table, a chair, a lamp and You see, I thought it was a mirror and anyone else walking into the room would think the same, as it was a fairly empty but albeit, ‘normal’ room. However, and this is where it gets spooky, if that was a mirror my reflection wasn’t in it! ‘Ok,’ I thought, ‘I know I’ve been spending some time alone up here in Liverpool and I haven’t really spoken to anyone for the last few days, but I’m pretty sure I still exist!’ The revelation happened pretty quickly, but I’m dramatising the thoughts I had at the time for affect, for as it turns out, what I thought was a mirror was actually a hole in the wall leading to an adjacent room in the pub that had been set up to be an exact mirror image of the room I was in. Clever, eh? I thought so and was even more intrigued when I noticed the light was off in the room in the reflection and on in the room I was in. I thought it was clever in its simplicity and liked the haunting effect it had. Within the context of the other art works (there are three) in this location it had extra poignancy and fitted the theme of host, guest, absence and presence.
(above) Still from Kader Attia 'Oil and Sugar #2', 2007  -LIVERPOOL BIENNIAL LOCATION NO 10 TATE LIVERPOOL *
Being an enthusiastic but still pretty impatient art goer, I don’t normally give video art the time and attention it demands and in most cases, deserves. I love films, but for whatever reason, have always struggled with video art which maybe says more about the gallery as a context for viewing film than my own impatientce. Anyway, this biennial marks the exception for it was the first one where I actually made the effort to sit and watch the duration of several videos. As a result there were a few that stood out, particularly, ‘Oil and Sugar #2’ which was simple in its conception; a large cube of stacked sugar cubes gets oil poured onto it and we are left to watch the structure first turn ever increasingly black and then dissolve and collapse until eventually a sizzling mess of oily/sugary residue is left. Simple things please small minds, the cynics may say, but there is something compelling mesmerising about watching the slow, sliding downfall as the sugar melts. Introduce the associations of the sugar representing a city-like structure and the oil representing capitalism then you’ve got some political, social and environmental readings of the work. There’s much you could read into it, but for me its success is in the way it is both visually interesting as well as thought provokingly interesting.
(above) Still from John Akomfrah 'The Unfinished Converstation' - LIVERPOOL BIENNIAL LOCATION NO 2 THE BLUECOAT **
The critic’s favourite, John Akomfrah with his three screen film installation at The Blue Coat, titled ‘The Unfinished Conversation’ is certainly, in my opinion, the most accomplished of films in the biennial  and it is both deeply moving as well as visually beautifully shot and edited. However I am always slightly sceptical reading reviews prior to seeing the work, preferring to make my own opinion (ironic, I know for someone that then writes a review on a blog, but each to their own) never quite buying into the ‘hype’ that some art works are given. The film archives the life of academic, Stuart Hall as his memories of growing up in Jamaica and then moving to Britain with particular reference to issues of identity, race and family. I had no idea who Stuart Hall was prior to the film, I had never heard of him. Although none of that was relevant as the 45 minutes duration of the film took place I was introduced to a story, a narrative of this man’s life and it was completely accessible and interesting. The concept that one’s identity being likened to an unfinished conversation that has a beginning but has many possible twists and no fixed ending is an idea that is universally identifiable and is at the heart of the story in this film. The multi-layered screen installation and layering of poetry and literature amongst the story that Stuart Hall, himself, is narrating is clever and has a resonance in echoing the idea of a conversation taking place.
(above) Doug Aitken 'The Source' 2012 - LIVERPOOL BIENNIAL LOCATION NO 10 TATE LIVERPOOL
That’s the thing about art, you think you’re onto something original and then it turns out that someone else has done the same thing only bigger (but not necessarily better). You thought Akomfrah’s three screens was impressive, well Doug Aitken has six! But we all know, less is more and whilst Aitken’s projections in ‘the round’ (they are in a circular room all playing simultaneously) are an impressive looking installation and immersive experience, the content of the films themselves was less appealing. In my opinion Akomfrah does it better! If anything they seemed a little self-gratuitous with cultural figures such as Jack White, Tilda Swinton and Mike Kelley (amongst others) discuss, ‘what is creativity?’ in relation to the roots of their own creative practices (a musician, actress and painter). wasn’t as pretentious as I am maybe making it out to be, I just thought it was a bit too much like an arts documentary that had been ‘glammed’ up into a cool looking installation. It DID look good, especially at night, when it is projected onto the outside (seen in photo above) it just wasn't my favourite that's all. 
(above) Close-up of Bryan Dooley 'The last self help book', 2011 (photo solvent print on adhesive pvc) -LIVERPOOL BIENNIAL VENUE 8 BLOOMBERG NEW CONTEMPORARIES AND CITY STATES ***
The image above is representative of the exhibition it was a part of, for it is the whole of the Bloomberg New Contemporaries that is always one of my highlights of the Liverpool Biennial. The competition takes place every year and is made up of artists that have graduated that year. I’m never completely convinced at how accurate it is in its representation of, ‘the best,’ new and emerging art talent, when I am often more impressed at the standard of work at local end of year degree shows. But nonetheless I am curious to see where the bar is and manage to always find work that is inspiring and interesting despite my criticisms of the selection process which seems disproportionately biased towards London and Scottish Arts graduates. Ahem! Plus the location that it’s situated in this year (not the normal A Foundation space from previous Biennials) is a former sorting office, and is quite simply, awesome!
(above) Oded Hirsch 'The Lift', 2012 -LIVERPOOL BIENNIAL LOCATION NO 11B PETER'S LANE

It’s not all SERIOUS! A lot of the art in this year and every biennial is fun! There isn’t as many outdoor public commissioned works in the biennial this year and not on the same ambitious scale as some of the previous years (Richard Wilson’s ‘Turning the Place Over’ for example). Anthony McCall’s ‘Column’ is a massive scale art commission for this year’s biennial but being weather dependant I didn’t see it and after speaking to people at the biennial have yet to meet someone who has! Still, there are a couple works like this dotted around which are great!
(above) Patrick Murphy's pigeons on the roof of The Walker Gallery (also home to the John Moores painting prize)
What can I say? They’re colourful pigeons!
(above) Camp and Furnace at the former 'A Foundation' at The Blade Factory -LIVERPOOL BIENNIAL LOCATION NO 25
If the theme for this year’s biennial is ‘hospitality’ then no venue does it like, Camp and Furnace! What used to be the venue for the Bloomberg New Contemporaries is now a cosy cafe, bar, small gallery and massive event space for hire. Nothing says hospitality like a roaring fireplace, sofa, books and free toast! I wasn’t ‘wowed’ by the art at this venue but that didn’t matter as the venue itself embraced the hospitality theme to its core and I really welcomed the break from what was an extremely packed biennial. An important reminder that if you want to encourage more people to engage with art that normally wouldn’t then the first step is often the simplest, make people feel welcome...or if all else fails give them free toast!
Liverpool Biennial 2012 is on until 25th November! Check out more on: