Friday, 10 December 2010


The theme of 'Touched' is strong one and is very open to interpretation, it's offered the artist's a loose phrase in which to play around with and has given the Liverpool Biennial a wide scope and range of works. This was the desire effect that Artistic Director Lewis Biggs was after and he states on the 'Touched' website that it was a very simple philosophy behind all the artworks that were displayed throughout this year's Biennial. "Touched presented art with emotional impact. Art that not only gained our attention but that moved us, motivated us, allowed us to find a way to change ourselves. Art without emotional force is art without intellectual power". Biggs' aim with this particular Biennial year was to touch all demographics and cultures, "without meditation, without the intercession of saleroom or celebrity".

There were some pieces that I felt worked well for two different reasons, some I felt "Touched" me in a sentimental way and other's were purely a physical tactile experienced. The sentimental works that I feel conceptually didn't harmonise with the Biennial theme was Andy Holden's "Three short works in time". I felt that this piece, at its core dealt with issues and themes Andy's worked on for a long time and that they had no direct connection to 'Touched' but there was something very sentimental with the sound track that laced his live performance/ sculptural pieces and this aspect touched and moved me in a way that I haven't felt in a art performance live capacity before. The more tactile and interactive pieces such as Nicholas Hlobo's "Ndize" maze of ribbons was a personal highlight and I felt that the very literal interpretation of "Touched" was something to commend. It can sometimes be too easy to become obscure and distant from the original brief but his willingness to embrace it and give the public an experience that they would otherwise never have had. This piece works perfectly with Biggs concept of reaching people "without meditation".

I feel that a piece of work that may have divided people but also gave them thought but without meditation was Tehching Hsieh's "One year performance". Whilst very accessible in that the concept and the delivery I feel the validity of this project would have been questioned by many people. This would alienate and divide some people but on the other hand it could draw people in and that's the very effect it had on me. I feel that this endurance is one of the most impressive realisations of an idea within this years biennial.

A small, almost unnoticeable exhibition space that shared Wrenshaw Street with Rapid was a personal favourite as it housed one of my favourite new artists Richard Proffitt. Not only did it house some very interesting low-fi, DIY styled sculpture and anti-aesthetic work but it had a quick turn over, refreshing it's space every four days. This is something that I'm very interested in as I feel that certain exhibition spaces such as Tate can become stale uninteresting. I understand why they have to do this but it means I treasure the small independent places that can do this as I feel its a more interesting way to get work out there. I feel that this small space was a major success and It ethos is something I will hope to channel within my own practice.

This has been my first Biennial year and it has been an interesting insight into a world I've been admiring from a distance for sometime. I feel that this biennial has seen some exceptional work but has also seen some misguided work which was been lost in translation. Conceptually and aesthetically I have learnt a lot about the possibility within art today, which may over time influence and inform my own practice. As I have a passion to travel as much as possible in the next few years I feel it would be an interesting venture to explore other major cities biennials so as to compare to this, Liverpool 2010 Biennial.

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