Reflecting on the Liverpool Biennial

The Liverpool Biennial is just over half way through its “run”. It’s on until 25th November. As it “presents work by 242 artists in 27 locations”, no one could cover everything in one blog post. In fact I couldn’t cover everything I saw on a day trip to Liverpool last Monday (Daytripper? Liverpool? Hum!) so I’m going to take the theme of reflections.

The first place I found was the Bluecoat. (One complaint I had was the fact that I arrived by train at Lime Street and expected some information there for visitors arriving for the Biennial. After about half an hour of wandering, I eventually came across a sign pointing to the Visitor Hub at the Bluecoat. There a charming young lady told me where to go – in the most pleasant way! If you are going, I suggest you head for the Bluecoat straight away.)

Outside the entrance to the Bluecoat was “2-Way Mirror Cylinder Bisected By Perforated Stainless Steel” by Dan Graham.

I’ve previously discussed titles and, specifically, the title “Untitled”. I don’t think this sign near the work giving the name and the materials used needs comment!

I saw a couple of pieces in Liverpool One where reflections were significant. “The Lift”, by Oded Hirsch, seems to burst out from underground, while “But I’m on the Guest List Too!” by Elmgreen & Dragset has an oversized VIP door, slightly ajar, which invites the viewer in but cannot be fully opened.

A few yards away from this second work is a water feature with very shallow water which is popular for photographs incorporating reflections.

At FACT Pedro Reyes has produced a series of games for people to play including one where a leader and a follower move as if reflected in a mirror. Some of the other games looked great fun. Shame I was on my own!

The final piece I want to mention is my favourite. The young lady told me to make sure I visited the Munroe. “It’s above a pub. In a couple of rooms there’s an installation. I won’t say any more as I don’t want to spoil it.”

When I went to see the installation I found it was a couple of rooms with beds, small tables, chairs, lamps, and mirrors. Nothing worth looking at. I came out very disappointed. There was a young lady just outside the installation. “Sorry, but I don’t understand this one,” I said. “Did you try to touch it?” “Touch what?” “The mirror.” So I went back in and understood the work! I won’t say any more but the clue in the photograph is my programme.

Markus Kahre “No Title”

If I get a chance, I’ll try to post some photos of other works at the Biennial. I hope to get back to see other works which I didn’t get to see first time before it ends.


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I'm a printmaker based in the North West of England, living in Bolton and printing at Hot Bed Press in Salford. Please visit my website
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4 Responses to Reflecting on the Liverpool Biennial

  1. seascapesaus says:

    I enjoyed your selection of exhibits, John and the witty reflections! I’m guessing that the last ‘mirror’ is a carefully set up gap in the wall. Did you disappear as you passed it?

  2. And I thought I didn’t have a reflection because I was a vampire!

  3. clinock says:

    The line between artists and magicians is often a fine one – thanks for sharing this exhibition with us…

  4. The problem with the Liverpool Biennial is that it isn’t an exhibition – it’s dozens of exhibitions. I only saw a small part of what was on offer, and have only written about part of that.

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