Celebrating 10 years of commissioning ambitious and challenging new work by leading international artists, the fifth edition of Liverpool Biennial’s International exhibition is MADE UP, an exploration of the power of the artistic imagination.
MADE UP sees imagination (called ‘invention’ in the 18th century) as the dynamo of art. At the heart of this exhibition’s broad ranging exploration of ‘making things up’ (which includes utopias and dystopias, narrative fiction, fantasy, myths, lies, prophesies, subversion and spectacle) is the emotional charge which powers the artistic imagination. Whether mischievous, constructive or iconoclastic, MADE UP is about art’s capacity to transport us, to suspend disbelief and generate alternative realities.
Liverpool Biennial continues to place an emphasis on commissioning new work from leading and emerging international artists. Artists currently in conversation with Liverpool Biennial towards a new commission for MADE UP include:
Ai Weiwei (China), Atelier Bow Wow (Japan), Guy Ben-Ner (Israel), Manfredi Beninati (Italy), David Blandy (UK), U-Ram Choe (Korea), Adam Cvijanovic (USA), Nancy Davenport (Canada), Diller Scofidio + Renfro (USA), Leandro Erlich (Argentina), Rodney Graham (Canada), Tue Greenfort (Denmark), Hubbard & Birchler (Ireland/Switzerland), Jesper Just (Denmark), Otto Karvonen (Finland), Yayoi Kusama (Japan), Ulf Langheinrich (Germany), Gabriel Lester (Netherlands), Annette Messager (France), Tracey Moffatt (Australia), Khalil Rabah (Palestine), Royal Art Lodge (Canada), Sarah Sze (USA), Tomas Saraceno (Argentina), Richard Woods (UK).
Curated collaboratively by a team drawn from partner galleries and the Biennial under the artistic directorship of Lewis Biggs, MADE UP is explored in a series of themed inflections presented across multiple sites, in galleries and public spaces throughout the city. MADE UP at The Bluecoat explores imagined futures, individual and collective, utopian and dystopian; Tate Liverpool and Open Eye Gallery consider the ambiguous territory between the real and the unreal; FACT (Foundation for Art & Creative Technology) focuses on the power of the mind to make up meaning when faced with complete abstraction and extreme sensory deprivation.
The public realm projects continue to be a defining feature of Liverpool Biennial, with over half of the 30-40 commissions situated in the public realm. MADE UP outside the gallery allows fiction to rub up against the real, inviting artists to carve out space for the imagination in the everyday, whether in imaginary models made manifest as real examples, or playful re-workings of the real.
Other lead programmes in the 2008 Liverpool Biennial festival will be the John Moores 25 Exhibition of Contemporary Painting, celebrating its 50th year as the UK's most prestigious national open painting competition; Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2008, the annual exhibition by students and recent graduates of Fine Art colleges throughout the UK; and the Independents Biennial, through which an effervescent and myriad programme of exhibitions will as usual be realised by independent and artist-led organisations, with Greenland Street and A Foundation playing a major role. Visitors to the Biennial will also have the opportunity to view a series of major new public art projects commissioned by Liverpool Biennial on behalf of Liverpool Culture Company as part of the programme for European Capital of Culture 2008.