Paintings selected by Tracey Emin, pavements of shattered glass from Mexico City, work by the cream of Britain’s art school graduates, a football pitch designed as an obstacle course, and Panamanian Bus Painters transforming the city’s public transport – are just a taste of what can be expected in galleries and temporary locations throughout Liverpool.
In 2006 the character of the Biennial is shaped by the rapid development of Liverpool’s centre, as this ‘city in transition’ gears up to its position as European Capital of Culture 2008 and is made up of these core programmes:
- Urban myths and the bittersweet success of regeneration are strong focal points in the International 06 exhibition. Inspired by Liverpool’s people, history and built environment, the exhibition promises 35 new commissions, half of which will be sited in the public realm. International 06 responds to the personal readings of Liverpool made by consultant curators Gerardo Mosquera and Manray Hsu. Both see art channelling energy into and within the city. Manray Hsu makes use of metaphors drawn from the Internet and from traditional Chinese medicine, while Gerardo Mosquera’s ‘reverse colonialism’ returns the flow of energy along the city’s historic geographic vectors to explore Liverpool here and now. The show’s route through the city punctuates the built environment.
- John Moores 24 Exhibition of Contemporary Painting is the UK’s most prestigious and longest-running national open painting competition. Organised by National Museums Liverpool and supported by the John Moores Exhibition Trust and the aFoundation, the exhibition has been hosted by The Walker Art Gallery since 1957. Celebrating the vitality of contemporary British painting, it is open to artists living and working in the UK and offers a first prize of £25,000. This year’s jury comprises of artists Sir Peter Blake and Tracey Emin with former John Moores prizewinner Jason Brooks, curator Ann Bukantas and Director of Visual Art at the British Council, Andrea Rose.
- Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2006 is the annual exhibition by students and recent graduates of Fine Art colleges throughout the UK. Established in 1949, New Contemporaries is recognised for supporting new work and artists at the start of their professional careers. The selectors are artists Alison Wilding, Angus Fairhurst and Paul Noble. Bloomberg New Contemporaries takes place at Greenland Street, Liverpool’s major new contemporary art centre run by A Foundation which launches with exhibitions, events, talks and screenings during the Biennial.
- International + is the Biennial’s learning and inclusion programme, through which participants are given the opportunity to discover and express their own creativity as well as accessing the creativity of others. This programme of activity is closely linked with International 06.
In addition, there will be a penumbra of exhibitions assembled under the name of the Independents Biennial, organised specifically by Liverpool based artists, independent curators and their networks.
Liverpool Biennial’s 2006 programme is delivered in association with The Walker (National Museums Liverpool), New Contemporaries, as well as smaller city centre galleries and alternative spaces. International 06 partners include Tate Liverpool, FACT (Foundation for Art & Creative Technology), and Open Eye Gallery. The Bluecoat Arts Centre will be closed for development during the Biennial, but contribute through the Connect and Live Art programmes.
- Established in 1998, by 2004 Liverpool Biennial had established itself as the UK’s Biennial and the most widely reviewed contemporary visual art festival in the country.