The fifth edition of Liverpool Biennial’s International exhibition opens on 20th September 2008. Celebrating 10 years of commissioning ambitious and challenging new work by leading international artists, International 08 takes ‘Made Up’ as its theme, to explore the power of the artistic imagination.

MADE UP considers the act of ‘making up’ in its multiple guises, including utopias and dystopias, narrative fiction, fantasy, myths, lies, prophesies, subversion, spectacle, and the ambiguous territory between the real and unreal.

While plain fiction may be static, the imaginary contains the dynamic of emotion. An emotional charge will be key to this exploration of ‘making things up’. Imagination derives its power not from the proposal of imaginary worlds, but from its ability to transport us into those worlds. Emotional involvement of some kind is essential to the suspension of disbelief. MADE UP celebrates art which does not ‘propose’ or ‘argue for’ a fictional state, but actually embodies an ‘imaginary’, a state of being (present or future).

With 30-40 new commissions by leading and emerging international artists, MADE UP will be presented across multiple sites, in Tate Liverpool, The Bluecoat, FACT (Foundation for Art & Creative Technology) and Open Eye, with half the exhibition appearing in public spaces throughout the city. The curators are from these organisations and the Biennial team, under the artistic directorship of Lewis Biggs.

Other lead programmes in the 2008 Liverpool Biennial festival will be the John Moores 25 Exhibition of Contemporary Painting, celebrating its 50th year as the UK’s most prestigious national open painting competition; Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2008, the annual exhibition by students and recent graduates of Fine Art colleges throughout the UK; and the Independents Biennial, through which an effervescent and myriad programme of exhibitions will as usual be realised by independent and artist-led organisations, with Greenland Street and A Foundation playing a major role. Visitors to the Biennial will also have the opportunity to view a series of major new public art projects commissioned by Liverpool Biennial on behalf of Liverpool Culture Company as part of the programme for European Capital of Culture 2008.