Phenomena Fine Art

Phenomena Fine Art Based in Manchester UK, Phenomena Fine Art is an artist-led initiative, that facilitates; arts practice, curatorial services, administration & consultancy.

05/01/2024

New exhibition review:
Meredith Monk: Calling
Oude Kerk, Amsterdam. NL

‘New York based musician, composer, performer, choreographer, installation artist, and pioneer of new opera and music-theatre Meredith Monk exhibits Calling, a retrospective of her work from her multi-disciplinary practice since the 1960s to the present day. '
‘The voice in these works is the instrument that needs no accompaniment and the languages of vocal words and text that are rarely used in her work become obsolete, replaced with a universal language of timbres, textures and tones: a vocabulary of sound and musical abstraction that expresses certain emotions that words cannot’
Meredith Monk: ‘Calling’ is Curated by Beatrix Ruf in collaboration with the Oude Kerk and the Hartwig Art Foundation and coincides with her exhibition and performances with the same name at Haus der Kunst in Munich, 10/11/23 – 03/03/24
Meredith Monk: Calling
Oude Kerk
Oudekerksplein 23
1012 GX Amsterdam, NL
21/10/23 – 17/03/24

link to review on LinkedIn

New exhibition review:Meredith Monk: CallingOude Kerk, Amsterdam. NL‘New York based musician, composer, performer, chore...
05/01/2024

New exhibition review:
Meredith Monk: Calling
Oude Kerk, Amsterdam. NL

‘New York based musician, composer, performer, choreographer, installation artist, and pioneer of new opera and music-theatre Meredith Monk exhibits Calling, a retrospective of her work from her multi-disciplinary practice since the 1960s to the present day. '

‘The voice in these works is the instrument that needs no accompaniment and the languages of vocal words and text that are rarely used in her work become obsolete, replaced with a universal language of timbres, textures and tones: a vocabulary of sound and musical abstraction that expresses certain emotions that words cannot’

Meredith Monk: ‘Calling’ is Curated by Beatrix Ruf in collaboration with the Oude Kerk and the Hartwig Art Foundation and coincides with her exhibition and performances with the same name at Haus der Kunst in Munich, 10/11/23 – 03/03/24

Meredith Monk: Calling
Oude Kerk
Oudekerksplein 23
1012 GX Amsterdam, NL
21/10/23 – 17/03/24

link to review on LinkedIn in bio

Visited FOAM photographic gallery in Amsterdam this afternoon & saw the compelling video work Recommence -2012 by the Sa...
20/12/2023

Visited FOAM photographic gallery in Amsterdam this afternoon & saw the compelling video work Recommence -2012 by the Saudi artist Sara Abu Abdallah. This work, being part of FOAM's 'Contemporary female artists from Saudi Arabia' exhibition. A work in which she bravely intervenes the Saudi ban on women drivers and other existing engendered roles and rules imposed by the Suadi state. Such an intelligently committed and performed work.
This exhibition is ongoing until 14th February 2024.

FOAM
Keizersgracht 609
1017 DS Amsterdam
The Netherlands

Nan GOLDIN: THIS WILL NOT END WELLStedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, NL.In this exhibtion Nan Goldin has taken on the role of ...
18/12/2023

Nan GOLDIN: THIS WILL NOT END WELL
Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, NL.

In this exhibtion Nan Goldin has taken on the role of film maker, creating slide shows that feature thousands of her photographic works screened in one of the six specially constructed indivdual viewing spaces in the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. This huge exhibition presents its audiences with the unavoidable opportunity to see through the lens of one of the most significant female artists who in her practice, has continued to document the existence of the counter cultural, the marginalised and the traumatic experiences of the human condition.
Spanning the decades from the 1980s to 2022 from Europe to the USA, her work has remained as raw and intimate as the experiences portrayed in her themes, and this exhibition brilliantly can not fail to demonstrate that.

NAN GOLDIN: THIS WILL NOT END WELL

Runs from Oct 7, 2023, until Jan 28, 2024
Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, NL.

Dinu Li: A Phantom’s VibeEntering the dimly lit atmospheric labyrinth in esea contemporary’s larger gallery space, we ar...
30/08/2023

Dinu Li: A Phantom’s Vibe

Entering the dimly lit atmospheric labyrinth in esea contemporary’s larger gallery space, we are met by an array of altar like sculptural assemblages of new and collected used artefacts including car wing mirrors, vibrant pom poms and assimilated ritualistic headwear. All the assemblage works are resting on used plastic crates and market trollies, held together by plastic ties in reggae colours or are integrated into black metal self-assemble market stall frames with orange building netting and red and white danger tape.

An assembled shack covered in red, white and blue striped tarpaulin commonly found in markets in South East Asia accommodates the screening of Li’s video work ‘Nation Family’ (2017) This work was made in collaboration with his cousin revisiting a labour camp where his cousin was once incarcerated and is now a popular holiday destination in China.

In the background, Li’s own dub track ‘Skanking Hawker’ and a compilation of Chinese tribal mountain songs drift in and out as if giving us a track of focus and influencing our pace as we wander through this captivating exhibition.

The idea of drifting through Hong Kong market stalls that are fused with childhood memories collectively with Jamaican sound systems in the adjoining gallery act as an evocation of the Phantom’s Vibe. This being the song ‘Always Together’ that Li first heard when visiting ‘working class markets’ growing up in Hong Kong, later in his youth it resurfaced in a Manchester Hulme/Moss Side inner-city blues party, then again it appeared years later unexpectedly on YouTube. Li later discovered that it was actually recorded in a small Chinese-run recording studio in Jamaca.

This exhibition of newly commissioned and existing works brilliantly validates Li’s personal discourse with contemporary and hybrid identities, colonial history and the ‘underrepresented history of the Chinese coolies in Jamaica’

Dinu Li: A Phantom’s Vibe
22 June – 29 October 2023
esea contemporary
13 Thomas Street,
Manchester, M4 1EU
United Kingdom


eseacontemporary.org

ARTIST ROOMS - LOUISE BOURGEOISARTIST ROOMS - Louise Bourgeois occupies the entire ground floor of the Grundy Art Galler...
23/08/2023

ARTIST ROOMS - LOUISE BOURGEOIS

ARTIST ROOMS - Louise Bourgeois occupies the entire ground floor of the Grundy Art Gallery in Blackpool. This exhibition has been realised as part of the ongoing ARTIST ROOMS programme, that since 2009 in collaboration with diverse local partnerships, has continued to present the work of international modern and contemporary individual artists in solo exhibitions for the public to access across the UK. Each ARTIST ROOMS exhibition involves works that have been kindly gifted (particularly from the Anthony d'Offay Gallery) to museums and galleries in Britain and are now under the custodial ownership of the Tate and the National Galleries of Scotland.

To those familiar with the work of Louise Bourgeois, the idea of an unintentional retrospective of one of the most influential artists of the 20th century can be justified by the addition of loaned works from the Easton Foundation included in this exhibition. This validates the inspired, consistent and necessary processes that Louise Bourgeois appropriated in her tenacious study of her own identity, herself as the ubiquitous subject, her life experiences and her work as an artist.

Untitled (1996) occupies the first side gallery space on the ground floor incorporating her own clothes that she had worn at various stages in her lifetime. Hung on the outstretched arms of a freestanding fabricated steel frame, individually they take on the shape of the human body and hover with the evocation of her memories and experiences and how in time they formed her identity both physically and emotionally. She created this work at the age of 85.

Spider (1994) spans the second side gallery floor area. The constant protector and predator asserting her dominant immediacy while protecting her eggs nestled within. This huge weaver of dwellings, prey traps and repairer of damage is silent, assertive and remains menacing. The spider being a reoccurring metaphor in Bourgeois’s work, acquired from her influential relationship with her own mother, her own maternal instinct and the process of the constant weaving and embroidering that was led by her mother within her family’s antique tapestry restoration business that she experienced as a child.

The remaining gallery areas are inhabited with a selection of her drawing, painting and sculpture, accompanied by the renowned photographic portrait of her by Robert Mapplethorpe (1982) smiling to the camera while holding a huge bronze patinated representation of male ge****ls tucked under her arm.

Louise Bourgeois said that if her work does not touch you, then she has failed.

It would be difficult not to feel the lure of compassion in the intimacy of her celebration of her life and her identity realised by her profound expertise in expressing and communicating these themes that continue to perceptibly radiate from her work.

I don’t think that this exhibition would fail to touch anyone.

Artist Rooms - Louise Bourgeois -8th July
9th September 2023
Grundy Art Gallery
Queen St
Blackpool FY1 1PU

First visit to Liverpool Biennial 2003 ‘uMoya: The Sacred Return of Lost Things’. Just overwhelming to view what could b...
04/08/2023

First visit to Liverpool Biennial 2003 ‘uMoya: The Sacred Return of Lost Things’. Just overwhelming to view what could be crammed into one afternoon of a selection of the many gallery and site specific exhibitions occupying all corners of the city.
Curated by Khanyisile Mbongwa, this 12th Liverpool biennale takes its thematic context from the isiZulu word uMoya meaning as quoted ‘spirit, breath, air, wind, temper and climate.’
The history of Liverpool, the lost and the returning, the process of healing and the celebration of the voice that refuses to be silenced are reoccurring themes and preoccupations of the international artists selected to exhibit and Liverpool as a city itself. Work exhibited has been specially commissioned, or renowned existing work has been thoughtfully selected and loaned from existing collections.
What makes this edition of the Liverpool Biennial challenging is its scale, not only in navigating from location to location as is expected in any big city, but that it is cohesive in that all the many works exhibited are so loaded both visually and contextually, that they are difficult to disengage from.
Credit to the curation and planning of this ambitious edition of the Liverpool Biennial.
I’m now exploring my next visits to catch up on the other exhibitions before 17th September and it’s all free!
Seen so far:
Belinda Kazeem-Kamiński’s enveloping installation ‘Respire (Liverpool) at FACT, 88 Wood Street, Liverpool City Centre.
Nicholas Galanin, Raisia Kabir, Kent Chan and Benoit Piéron installations at Bluecoat, 8 School Lane, Liverpool City Centre.
Edgar Calel, Fátima Rodrigo Gonzales, Francis Offerman, Gala Porras-Kim, Guadalupe Maravilla, Iso do Rosário, Lubaina Himid, Nolan Oswald Dennis, Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum, Sannon Alonzo and Torkwase Dyson at Tate Liverpool, Royal Albert Dock, Liverpool Waterfront.
Photographed:
Benoit Piéron, Belinda Kazeem-Kamiński, Francis Offerman, Torkwase Dyson, Guadalupe Maravilla, Kent Chan, Edgar Calel, Raisia Kabir, Shannon Alonzo.
Liverpool Biennial 2023
‘uMoya: The Sacred Return of Lost Things’
10 June – 17th September 2023
www.biennial.com

Gordon Cheung “The Garden of Perfect Brightness” new exhibition at the Atkinson museum and gallery, Southport “The Garde...
17/06/2023

Gordon Cheung “The Garden of Perfect Brightness” new exhibition at the Atkinson museum and gallery, Southport
“The Garden of Perfect Brightness” takes its title from the English translation of the Chinese Yuanming Garden in Beijing. As the title anticipates, Cheung investigates a history of imperialism, globalisation, Chinese diaspora and further, the destruction of Chinese cultural achievements and embodiments from recorded events that took place during the second o***m war in the 1880s.

To the present and the progress of capitalism, cultural development, our relationship with the spiritual and natural worlds in the sphere of the ever advancing digital age are open themes that Cheung poetically and philosophically explores. Pulped copies of the Financial Times are reformed, sculpted and revalued as “traditional Chinese ‘scholars rocks’ or ‘spirit stones’ “. Landscape and still life paintings informed by Chinese and Dutch/Flemish historical artistic triumphs, realised through Cheung’s unique process of digitisation and relief application, are stunning and accompany the sculptural works in this exceptional exhibition.
I think Stephen Whittle (Atkinson Principle Museum & Gallery Manager) sums it up in his own words “this is the most beautiful exhibition we’ve shown at the Atkinson.”
Gordon Cheung: “The Garden of Perfect Brightness”

Saturday 3 June 2023 until Saturday 9 September 2023


The Atkinson

Hew Loke: The Ambassadors.Commissioned by the Lowry in 2019, this significant work by Hew Loke follows his preoccupation...
30/05/2023

Hew Loke: The Ambassadors.
Commissioned by the Lowry in 2019, this significant work by Hew Loke follows his preoccupation with the history of colonial and postcolonial power and their relevance in present society. Having first been shown in London and Rotterdam due to delays with the pandemic, this brilliant exhibition is at the Lowry Gallery in Salford until 25th June 2023.

Ha! My old studio at STEIM on the Achtergracht stars in the closing scene of an ITV Van der Valk episode.Researching and...
25/04/2023

Ha! My old studio at STEIM on the Achtergracht stars in the closing scene of an ITV Van der Valk episode.

Researching and developing my 'LIVE' project alongside the ever brilliant Steina Vasulka being the last time I was in residence there. Such an inspiring part of my creative development!

‘Traces of Displacement’Mandla: ‘as British as a watermelon’ 2021‘Traces of Displacement’ at the Whitworth Gallery, Manc...
21/04/2023

‘Traces of Displacement’
Mandla: ‘as British as a watermelon’ 2021

‘Traces of Displacement’ at the Whitworth Gallery, Manchester. presents an unforeseen collection of artist works in response to the perpetual history of human involuntary displacement, an inevitable necessity to find safety from persecution, conflict and environmental devastation.

This exhibition bears a biographical and a collective experience of individual accounts and narratives that weave, combine and disperse with the remaining threads of loss and desperation embroiled in a process that seems quantifiably invoked.
The evolving status of emigrant, immigrant or refugee revolves around this exhibition and those selected on view reveal the fortune of some with the hope of asylum, resettlement and the summoning of the resilience to adapt (Mandla: ‘as British as a watermelon’ 2021: single channel video -23 mins), others in a perpetual limbo of detainment and detention (Ian Rawlinson: ‘Refuge I-IV’ 2004: graphite on film) and those who sadly for some reason not of their control just couldn’t make it (Hiwa K: ‘view from above’ 2017: single channel HD video – 12:27 mins).
The works in this exhibition project such poetic individual artistic and aesthetical reasoning, almost as a documentation of the stark reality of our world, with an immediacy that invokes an inescapable human empathy for the displaced and the ambiguously adjusted.

Included artists in this exhibition: Mounira al Solh, Otti Berger, Leilah Babiyre, Caroline Walker, Safdar Ahmed, Bashir Makhoul, Frank Brangwyn, Cornelia Parker, Mandla Rae, Raisa Kabir, Dusan Kusmic, Ian Rawlinson, Cecily Brown, Charles Green and Lyndell Brown, Francesco Simetti, Lucien Freud, Marc Chagall, Mary Kessell, Edward Bawden, James McBey, and Frank Auerbach

This exhibition is an ARHC (Arts and Humanities Research Council) - funded research project led by Professor Ana Cardon Coyne, Dr. Chrisoula Lionis and Dr. Angeliki Rousseau.

‘Traces of Displacement’ runs from April 7th 2023 to January 7th 2024

Rosemary Mayer - 'Ways of Attaching'Spike Island, Bristol. A brilliant survey exhibition celebrating the work of Rosemar...
19/11/2022

Rosemary Mayer - 'Ways of Attaching'
Spike Island, Bristol.

A brilliant survey exhibition celebrating the work of Rosemary Mayer over thirty years, her persistent reworking of historical contexts of feminism, temporary existence, love and despair.
Monumental fabric sculpture, painting, drawing and archival documentation of her ephemeral installations that she realised during the 1970s and her co-founding of A.I.R., New York, are so thoughtfully curated in the lengthy corridor-like spaces made accessible for this exhibition.
This exhibition has been realised in collaboration with the Estate of Rosemary Mayer, Terra Foundation of American Art and will run at Spike Island, Bristol until 15 January 2023.

.i.r. # #

Brilliant exhibition at the Mostyn.Mapping The Self in Today's Art TEMPO-RARY ATLASAn exhibition of seventeen internatio...
29/07/2022

Brilliant exhibition at the Mostyn.
Mapping The Self in Today's Art TEMPO-RARY ATLAS
An exhibition of seventeen international artists including Enam Gbewonyo, Ibrahim Mahama, Jeremy Deller, Kiki Smith & Walid Raad, who explore the themes of mapping and unconventional paths, identity, the subconscious, the emotive and how we absorb, process and use rules to interpret the representational.

Continues at the Mostyn Gallery, Llandudno until 25th September 2022

60+10 Curated Conversation at the Whitaker Museum & Art GalleryThursday 14th July 2022: 07:00 pm                        ...
06/07/2022

60+10 Curated Conversation at the Whitaker Museum & Art Gallery
Thursday 14th July 2022: 07:00 pm
+10

17/06/2022

Sixty Drawings + Ten is a group exhibition covering a range of drawing styles and practices, co-curated by artists Carolyn Curtis Magri and Gary James Williams, which will be open to the public from 16 June to 11 August 2022 at the Whitaker Museum and Art Gallery in Rossendale.

Sixty Drawings + Ten is a group exhibition covering a range of drawing styles and practices, co-curated by artists Carol...
11/06/2022

Sixty Drawings + Ten is a group exhibition covering a range of drawing styles and practices, co-curated by artists Carolyn Curtis Magri and Gary James Williams, which will be open to the public from 16 June to 11 August 2022 at the Whitaker Museum and Art Gallery in Rawtenstall, Rossendale.
In 2012, Curtis Magri was inspired to celebrate drawing as a discipline by project managing and curating an exhibition of 60 artists’ drawings entitled ’60 Drawings’ at Bankley Gallery in Levenshulme, Manchester with Williams. Sixty artists from Manchester Studio Groups and Manchester Metropolitan University were invited to exhibit one drawing each.
Ten years on, the second iteration of the project, entitled 60 Drawings + Ten, takes place at the Whitaker.
Sixty Drawings + Ten explores, defines and celebrates the practice and the locality of drawing in its diverse forms. Artists, from a range of different disciplines who exhibited in the first exhibition in 2012 in Manchester, will present a new work, alongside other selected artists to celebrate a decade of the project’s development and to exhibit at The Whitaker.
The curatorial theme remains the consistent thread running through all iterations of the project, which continues to pose such key questions as: where can drawing be situated in an artist’s practice? Does it come after, before or during? Is drawing secondary or primary?
Sixty Drawings + Ten is accompanied by a dedicated project website designed by ToBeContent which delivers images, biographies and statements from all participating artists, along with a range of associated material: https://60plus10.com/
Visitors are invited to the Whitaker Museum on Thursday 16 June from 7pm for the official opening of the exhibition. Artists Nicola Dale and Kevin Dalton Johnson will stage live performances on the opening night.
On 14 July an accompanying Q/A event featuring five of the exhibiting artists will be in a ‘curated conversation’ with art historian Sara Riccardi (Art Across). Each of the artists will present their practice, while Sara will draw connections between their contemporary work, artist’s themes and artwork from the past.

Sixty Drawings + Ten is a group exhibition covering a range of drawing styles and practices, co-curated by artists Carol...
04/06/2022

Sixty Drawings + Ten is a group exhibition covering a range of drawing styles and practices, co-curated by artists Carolyn Curtis Magri and Gary James Williams, which will be open to the public from 16 June to 11 August 2022 at the Whitaker Museum and Art Gallery in Rawtenstall, Rossendale.
In 2012, Curtis Magri was inspired to celebrate drawing as a discipline by project managing and curating an exhibition of 60 artists’ drawings entitled ’60 Drawings’ at Bankley Gallery in Levenshulme, Manchester with Williams. Sixty artists from Manchester Studio Groups and Manchester Metropolitan University were invited to exhibit one drawing each.
Ten years on, the second iteration of the project, entitled 60 Drawings + Ten, takes place at the Whitaker.
Sixty Drawings + Ten explores, defines and celebrates the practice and the locality of drawing in its diverse forms. Artists, from a range of different disciplines who exhibited in the first exhibition in 2012 in Manchester, will present a new work, alongside other selected artists to celebrate a decade of the project’s development and to exhibit at The Whitaker.
The curatorial theme remains the consistent thread running through all iterations of the project, which continues to pose such key questions as: where can drawing be situated in an artist’s practice? Does it come after, before or during? Is drawing secondary or primary?
Sixty Drawings + Ten is accompanied by a dedicated project website designed by ToBeContent which delivers images, biographies and statements from all participating artists, along with a range of associated material: https://60plus10.com/
Visitors are invited to the Whitaker Museum on Thursday 16 June from 7pm for the official opening of the exhibition. Artists Nicola Dale and Kevin Dalton Johnson will stage live performances on the opening night.
On 14 July an accompanying Q/A event featuring five of the exhibiting artists will be in a ‘curated conversation’ with art historian Sara Riccardi (Art Across). Each of the artists will present their practice, while Sara will draw connections between their contemporary work, artist’s themes and artwork from the past.

Sixty Drawings + Ten is a group exhibition covering a range of drawing styles and practices, co-curated by artists Carol...
30/05/2022

Sixty Drawings + Ten is a group exhibition covering a range of drawing styles and practices, co-curated by artists Carolyn Curtis Magri and Gary James Williams, which will be open to the public from 16 June to 11 August 2022 at the Whitaker Museum and Art Gallery in Rawtenstall, Rossendale.
In 2012, Curtis Magri was inspired to celebrate drawing as a discipline by project managing and curating an exhibition of 60 artists’ drawings entitled ’60 Drawings’ at Bankley Gallery in Levenshulme, Manchester with Williams. Sixty artists from Manchester Studio Groups and Manchester Metropolitan University were invited to exhibit one drawing each.
Ten years on, the second iteration of the project, entitled 60 Drawings + Ten, takes place at the Whitaker.
Sixty Drawings + Ten explores, defines and celebrates the practice and the locality of drawing in its diverse forms. Artists, from a range of different disciplines who exhibited in the first exhibition in 2012 in Manchester, will present a new work, alongside other selected artists to celebrate a decade of the project’s development and to exhibit at The Whitaker.
The curatorial theme remains the consistent thread running through all iterations of the project, which continues to pose such key questions as: where can drawing be situated in an artist’s practice? Does it come after, before or during? Is drawing secondary or primary?
Sixty Drawings + Ten is accompanied by a dedicated project website designed by ToBeContent which delivers images, biographies and statements from all participating artists, along with a range of associated material: https://60plus10.com/
Visitors are invited to the Whitaker Museum on Thursday 16 June from 7pm for the official opening of the exhibition. Artists Nicola Dale and Kevin Dalton Johnson will stage live performances on the opening night.

It’s not often that you’re invited, and then ten years later reinvited, to collaborate, co-curate and exhibit in an exhi...
20/05/2022

It’s not often that you’re invited, and then ten years later reinvited, to collaborate, co-curate and exhibit in an exhibition along with seventy other established national and international artists.

Sixty Drawings Plus Ten is the second iteration of a project originally initiated by the artist and curator Carolyn Curtis Magri named ‘Sixty Drawings’ that intended to explore, define and celebrate the locality and discipline of drawing in its diverse forms within the practices of selected participating artists.

The first iteration of this exhibition took place at Bankley Gallery in Manchester in 2012. We are delighted that artists selected from that exhibition, along with an additional ten artists invited to celebrate a decade of the project’s development, have agreed to openly submit a new work to the second iteration and exhibition. Sixty Drawings Plus Ten continues the original curatorial theme and will take place at the Whitaker Museum and Art Gallery in Rossendale, Lancashire 16 June – 11 August 2022.

Performances, screenings, podcasts, workshops and group Q&A sessions exploring the process of drawing in the artists’ practices will take place at the Whitaker Museum and Gallery https://thewhitaker.org and viewable on the dedicated website https://60plus10.com Visit the websites for more on the ongoing project, the artists involved and the dates and details of all the events.

Highlights of Liverpool Biennial 2021Exhibition ReviewThis year, the 11th Liverpool Biennial is entitled The Stomach and...
18/06/2021

Highlights of Liverpool Biennial 2021
Exhibition Review
This year, the 11th Liverpool Biennial is entitled The Stomach and The Port, and focuses on artistic practices that divide into three ‘entry points’: stomach, porosity and kin.
In brief, the stomach is our corporeal way of digesting our experience of the world. Porosity relates to the ability of the skin to absorb and allow things to pass through, a bit like a border. Kin is seen as the way we form relationships and bonds that connect us with the world.
On our first visit to the Biennial, lockdown meant that the indoors exhibitions were closed. Therefore we focused first on the Stomach/Waterfront Trail, taking in Rashid Johnson’s Stacked Heads (2020) at Canning Dock Quayside. This work is constructed using both organic and inorganic materials. The plants which grow out of it are purposefully hardy and can endure the harsh wind and saline spray that are a feature of the docks. Like the stomach, the external and internal meet.
Rashid Johnson, Stacked Heads, 2020. Installation view at Canning Dock Quayside. Photography: Mark McNulty
We went on to the Porosity/Business District Trail, looking at Osteoclast (I do not know how I came to be on board this ship, this navel of my ark) (2021) by Teresa Solar. Part bone, part canoe: these bright orange sculptures align bones as hollow structures capable of carrying blood and cells with water-borne crafts, such as vessels carrying migrants or transmitting people, goods and knowledge. The sculpture when we saw it was at Exchange Flags (L2 3SW) but is now at Derby Square (L2 7NU).
Teresa Solar, Osteoclast (I do not know how I came to be on board this ship, this navel of my ark), 2021. Installation view at Exchange Flags. Photography: Mark McNulty
At St John’s gardens and situated on top of buildings and landmarks around the city centre, the Pan African Flag for the Relic Travellers’ Alliance (2017-ongoing) by Larry Achiampong signifies the porosity of skin and the material of the flags themselves. The flags signify solidarity and empathy, and some of the sites they are place upon relate to Liverpool’s connection with the enslavement of West Africans as part of the transatlantic slave trade.
Larry Achiampong, Pan African Flag for the Relic Travellers' Alliance, 2021. Installation view at the Cunard Building, Liverpool Biennial 2021. Photography: Mark McNulty
On our second visit, we were allowed inside galleries and buildings and explored the Kinship/City Centre Trail.
1. Lewis’s Building, Ranelagh Street & Hanover Street, L1 1JX Exhibition continues until 27 June / https://goo.gl/maps/N6rs1in6C35HZGFP6
We saw all three floors of exhibitions at the Lewis’s Building, close by Liverpool Lime Street Station. Highlights included Like a filter, matter passed through you and became a part of you (2021) in which Luo Jr-Shin staged a recreation of nightclub toilets, complete with running taps and electric lights. Reto Pulfer exhibited hyperbolisch ratlos ortlos inhaltslos (2015-21), a vast textile installation based on childhood memories of a huge landscape garden that existed close to where the artist grew up.
Ane Graf exhibited works from the Goblet Series (2021), which allowed cocktails created from pollutants (dust, cosmetics etc.) to grow as if in a Petri dish, and which the artist related to states of mind, as in Brain Fog Goblet. Erick Beltran’s Superimposition (2021) showed a range of highly colourful graphic posters, mixing narratives of collective psyche, velocity, harmonics, the body and the dream.
Lamin Fofana occupied the top floor of the exhibition with a digital audio piece, Life and Death by Water (2021) which was inspired by Tobago-born Canadian poet M NorbeSe Philip’s poem Zong! (2008) about the murder of more than 130 African people aboard the slave ship Zong in 1781. The audio was produced from a combination of sound recordings from around Liverpool, archival material and new sound, to contextualise past and present in relation to the history of the trade of enslaved people.
2. Bluecoat, School Lane, L1 3BX Exhibition continues until 5 September / http://www.thebluecoat.org.uk/
Here, Kathleen Ryan’s Bad Fruit series comprised a series of visually compelling works, Bad Cherries (Legs), Bad Lemon (Slice) and Bad Peach (Cheeky) (all from 2020). In each work, states of decay were hardened into static lapidary existence, critiquing socioeconomic inequality. The materials used for each work were listed in the gallery labels – extraordinary lists of crystals, shells and semi-precious stones.
Kathleen Ryan, Bad Fruit (series), 2020. Installation view at Bluecoat, Liverpool Biennial 2021. Documented: Bad Cherries (Legs). Bad Lemon (Slice), 2020. Bad Peach (Cheeky), 2020. Photography: Rob Battersby
Jade Fadojutimi’s paintings, including Even an awkward smile can sprout beyond the sun (2021), considered the multiplicity of human experience and emotional life, wavering between abstraction and figuration.
In his stunning, compelling work, Mouth of Medusa (2018), Roland Persson looked at how the way we represent and define nature informs us about who we are more than about nature itself.
Roland Persson, Mouth of Medusa, 2018. Installation view at Bluecoat, Liverpool Biennial 2021. Photography: Rob Battersby
3. FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology) 88 Wood Street, L1 4DQ Exhibition continues until 29 August / https://www.fact.co.uk/
FACT presented an amazing audio-visual installation from B.O.S.S. (Black Obsidian Sound System), The Only Good System is a Sound System (2020), reflecting on how marginalised groups have found ways of coming together despite social discrimination in the UK and connecting this solidarity with sound culture, where kinship can be discovered.
There were also, in the top floor gallery, beautiful, radical video pieces from Zheng Bo’s Pteridophilia series (2016-ongoing), blurring the boundaries between human love and passion and love of nature, ‘destabilising identity and gender categories.’
Zheng Bo, Pteridophilia 3 (film still), 2018
Soft Boys by Liverpool based artist Kiara Mohamed (part of Biennial Partner Programming), celebrates emotion, empathy and joy in Somali culture and examines conservative concepts of masculinity that exist even within the trans community.
You can take in these shows by walking from the area around from Liverpool Lime Street Station (there are quite a few £6 per day carparks in the area) and following a route through the city down to the docks. Stop half-way down at one of many restaurants or café-bars on Bold Street or in Chinatown for coffee or lunch.
There’s plenty more to see and do, with full listings of events and exhibitions at:
www.liverpoolbiennial2021.com/
Liverpool Biennial 2021 is organised by Interim Director Samantha Lackey and Curator Manuela Moscoso and a team of people from Liverpool and across the world.
Written by Jo Manby
Photo credits courtesy Liverpool Biennial 2021:
Rashid Johnson, Stacked Heads, 2020. Installation view at Canning Dock Quayside. Photography: Mark McNulty
Teresa Solar, Osteoclast (I do not know how I came to be on board this ship, this navel of my ark), 2021. Installation view at Exchange Flags. Photography: Mark McNultyLarry Achiampong, Pan African Flag for the Relic Travellers' Alliance, 2021. Installation view at the Cunard Building, Liverpool Biennial 2021. Photography: Mark McNulty
Kathleen Ryan, Bad Fruit (series), 2020. Installation view at Bluecoat, Liverpool Biennial 2021. Documented: Bad Cherries (Legs). Bad Lemon (Slice), 2020. Bad Peach (Cheeky), 2020. Photography: Rob Battersby
Roland Persson, Mouth of Medusa, 2018. Installation view at Bluecoat, Liverpool Biennial 2021. Photography: Rob Battersby
Zheng Bo, Pteridophilia 3 (film still), 2018.

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