Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Liverpool Biennale

We went to Liverpool by train yesterday to meet up with some of Hazel's 1st years and take the Biennale art trail around the city. The train was late ofcourse but we did get there first and had time to take in the Walker Art Gallery exhibition of 25 years of the Whatnots painting in coils competition- past winners being David Hockney, Lucien Freud, Bridet Riley etc. mostly incredibly tedious abstracts or splodgy figaritve works which have not stood the test of time. The most enjoyable thing we found was this silly "Loophonium" by Fritz Spiegl who was Austrian but lived in Liverpool for many years. There was a button to press so you could hear what it sounded like. Buttons to press are always a winner with me!
After the coach party arrived we went our seperate ways. First stop was the old ABC cinma which had been converted into a library and visitor centre for the MADE UP partof the Biennale. In the old auditorium was a gloomy installation by Annette Messenger of half the cinema seats covered by a big billowing tent affiar with air being pumped into it every so often. This gave the illusion of a wave rolling down to the stalls. On the stage was a very tawdry sculpture of a half skeleton and big dangly hands and feet manipulatedby strings like some weird puppet. What it was all about beats me!
The catalogue throws around various clues and pretentious mumbo jumbo but cant quite put its finger on it. "Messenger delights in multiplicity and plurality,incorporating numerous games for the viewer in her works, material and verbal."

A bit further on down the road was a an old paint shop with installations by Richard Woods and Jesper Just. More baffling painted boards to look like old signs and a video of three screens depicting the antics of a depressed hermaphrodite being dragged around Bucharest.
It was flippin' cold and wet so glad of my duffle coat and scarf. Brrrr!

Next stop was several holes in a wall to peer through at a gloomy room by Manfredi Beninati. Not sure what this was about either. Its all about Memory we are seriously informed.
Next is the wooden steps of some demented architect. This mini stage is merely a temporary resting place and would be a nice place to sit if it wasn't so wet and dreary. The only view is the church opposite which is our next port of call. Here Yoko Ono has invited people to donate stepladders and there are a dozen or so standing forlornly in the rain in the middle of the ruined burnt out church. There are several musical instruments to play on including a load of drain pipes and a dangling set of bells. You can ring these if you wear the hard hat provided, incase of falling masonry.

Then the long walk to the spinning trees and the Bloomberg New Contempories in an old factory just past the cathedral. Tons of weird stuff here- some amusing like the chinese video of a quiet wooded glade - suddenly it is invaded by men in orange boiler-suits who drag off all the trees and roll up the turf for the next picture - a street scene. Most though is typical art student graduate stuff and one can see the influence of Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin, et al. The chinese work seemed the most exciting and original especially in the area of video and performance. I came away feeling rather confused by the whole thing- not unusual these days. Maybe I'm just getting cynical in my old age!

Then back to the station via the shops and a quick look in a great antique place. Hazel bought some old cards with buttons on for a pound. Also some old "Sparky" comics for Archie. 50p each.
I looked through some old LP's but they were quite expensive. Quite an Aladdins Cave though and well worth a visit just to see so many cabinets of curiosities.


Roger Stevens said...

Sounds like you had a fabulous time.

wastedpapiers said...

It was better than I make it sound! It was nice to get out for a day of culture - something we don't do very often - Northwich being a bit of a cultural desert.

Roger Stevens said...

Unlike Brighton. Which is a cultural dessert.

wastedpapiers said...

Yes, you are very lucky. The last cultural event we went to was the Spike Theatre company at the tiny theatre here which doubles as a folk club and amateur theatricals venue. There were about a dozen other people in the audience - very sad.