This summer, Tate Liverpool is one of many venues across the city displaying new work as part of the Liverpool Biennial – the UK’s largest international contemporary art festival.
The 2016 edition of the Biennial draws on Liverpool’s past, present and future to take visitors on a series of voyages through time and space. These journeys take the form of six ‘episodes’, with the Tate’s contribution transforming its first floor galleries into Ancient Greece.
After walking through a portal, visitors are met with classical sculptures, borrowed from the National Museums Liverpool, displayed alongside a series of newly commissioned artworks. The exhibition imagines a world where artists from ancient and contemporary times have collaborated, merging the past with the present and future. This approach has been inspired by the city’s own history which saw architects such as John Foster and Harvey Lonsdale Elmes build Liverpool’s neoclassical cityscape as a second version of Ancient Greece in the 1800s.
The new commissions by artists Koenraad Dedobbeleer, Andreas Angelidakis, Jumana Manna, Betty Woodman, Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Jason Dodge, Samson Kambalu and Sahej Rahal respond to and “activate” the objects from the National Museums Liverpool’s classical collection. “The boundaries between fiction and history was very, very interesting for a lot of the artists that we invited to respond,” explains Francesco Manacorda, Artistic Director at Tate Liverpool.
“Indian artist Sahej Rahal’s work, Undergod (2016), deals with that aspect of archaeology but also that aspect of animating a sculpture, bringing it to life… His dense display of clay sculptures imagine artefacts from the future; so they are like archaeological finds from a scene and historical happening that haven’t taken place yet.” Watch our full interview and exhibition tour with the Francesco Manacorda above.