Cunard Building: Liverpool Biennial — the Unexpected Guest.
One of the great things about the Biennial is the opportunity to explore buildings and urban spaces that you wouldn’t normally have access to. It’s good to see them being used as a space for something very different from the original intention.
The Cunard building is a good example of this, a vast, imposing space whose ground floor is given over Art concerned with the theme of the UNEXPECTED GUEST, this year’s overriding theme of the Biennial. In this case the building house work surrounding the idea of Liverpool as a city of Sanctuary.
Andrea Bowers ‘City of Sanctuary’, 2012 Artist and activist Andrea Bowers amplifies the launch of Liverpool as a City of Sanctuary for asylum seekers and refugees. Bowers and STAR (Student Action for Refugees) have collaborated with designer Sam Wiehl to create a visual identity for the campaign. Taking the form of a Perspex backlit sign that welcomes you to the Hall.
Art group Superflex created hangings, all of them hand painted in the piece in ‘Liverpool to Let,’ 2012. The artists were struck by the abundance of empty office and commercial spaces in Liverpool’s financial district. They painstakingly re-staged ‘To Let’ signage as banners within The Cunard Building.
Mona Hatoum has a number of works in this exhibition, ‘Present Tense’ is made up of 2400 soap blocks made from olive oil from Nabius a city north of Jerusalem. The surface has had glass beads pushed into it forming a map of the terrotries supposedly being handed back to the Palestinians from the 1996 Oslo peace accord.
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