Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Culture
21 September 2010updated 27 Sep 2015 4:05am

Letter from Liverpool

Sixth Biennial opens on Merseyside.

By Dany Louise

This sixth edition of the Liverpool Biennial of Art is a quieter, more chastened affair than usual, though it does have plenty of political edge. Driven by fury at the bankers who have nearly brought the national economy to its knees, and with the arts facing drastic cuts in funding, director Lewis Biggs has insisted that all work should have a holistic impact, on mind, body and spirit, hence the theme of “Touched”. The subtext of this Biennial is “enjoy it while you can”.

Daniel Hlobo’s “Ndize” at the Bluecoat Arts Centre is a delightful and evocative sensory experience that takes you somewhere completely different, though much of the best work is in non-gallery spaces. In Renshaw Street, Ryan Trecartin’s trilogy of videos stand out. Parodying high-energy youth-orientated reality TV, it is a kind of Korean Little Britain, riveting and dense..

Works by Alfredo Jaar and Cristina Lucas in the old Europleasure building gain by their proximity. Lucas has produced “Touch and Go”; an elegiac film in which trade unionists and their families vandalise a now derelict building that once housed a European company. In a gleeful expression of frustration at market failure, individuals enjoy throwing stones through its windows, the camera lingering symbolically on the shattering glass.

In “We wish to inform you that we didn’t know”, Jaar replays footage of Bill Clinton apologising to a Rwandan audience for not acting more quickly and decisively during the 1994 genocide and appearing to acknowledge that he had not fully understood the gravity of the situation. This is followed with testimony from three survivors of the genocide. It’s a compelling piece.

Select and enter your email address Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. A weekly newsletter helping you fit together the pieces of the global economic slowdown. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
I consent to New Statesman Media Group collecting my details provided via this form in accordance with the Privacy Policy

Elsewhere Sachiko Abe is performing “Cut Papers” at the A Foundation space. To say more will spoil its surprise, but it’s a must see. And finally, this year’s John Moores exhibition is all about painting. For the first time in years, the organisers have managed to assemble a decent collection of artists at the top of their game demonstrating the sheer range of the medium. A joy.