Liverpool Biennial (24th November)

Revisiting some of the Biennial that I missed after the study visit in September, I decided to pick up some of the photography exhibitions that I’d not had time to go.

While I saw lots of interesting exhibitions and sculpture, I’ve primarily focused my thoughts onto the key photography pieces.

Tate Liverpool
Keith Arnett- A.O.N.B
(Area of outstanding natural beauty)
– look more like areas of dereliction and while Arnett explores ‘beauty and banality’, the fact he has chosen to show the worst side of these areas in my opinion doesn’t make me question the British landscape, but question as to how these places are listed as AONB as I can’t see a point in any of these images where this could have been the case. There seems to be no hint of beauty or glory days compared to AONB that I have actually visited and I think some more information on where these areas are and how they were classified would help the viewer to consider the contrast between beauty and the negative

Sophie Calle- The Hotel
A mixture of narrative and images, this series by Calle really caught my eye, on its own her diary style writing on the guests in the rooms is interesting and it made me wonder about the people staying there, but with the images it just takes it one step further, part fascination but also part voyeur and that engages me as a viewer but also makes me look at this from the other side. What would I think or feel if I’d walked into this exhibition and realised that the description was about me and my possessions were on display? It suddenly loses its anonymity but a very interesting theme to take up.

Gilbert & George- C*nt Scum (edited for my blog)
This was more subtle than I imagined it to be and was quite striking. I loved the social history aspect of the monochrome images of the people of London that seems to place this into the past (and just checking 1977 so a little earlier than I thought) While the work is based on images of graffiti in the Spitalfields area, described in the information as home to immigrant communities, the images are strangely lacking any hint of these diverse influences and communities.

Pak Sheung Cheun- A Travel without Visual Experience
I didn’t actually manage to see all of this as my camera flash wasn’t quite co-operating in the sheer darkness of this exhibition. The concept of the flash revealing the images and making your way around this in the dark was both a fun and terrifying experience as you can’t see anyone else and then suddenly there is a flash of light, I felt blinded and tried to make sense of things in a split second before it vanished. It certainly emphasises that I need light for photography.

Martin Parr- Common Sense
This was overwhelming compared to some of the other understated and almost neutrally coloured images, as per usual these were very bright, vivid and over saturated. Filling a large proportion of the gallery wall, the images all close together were too much to me, they had impact but didn’t inspire me to take the time to look at each one in turn.

George Shaw- Scenes from the passion
The images of the derelict garages where Shaw had removed people and contemporary additions to inspire nostalgia failed on me, as I felt that with the background and graffiti, the image wasn’t as timeless as Shaw wanted to put across and it had a more modern feel to me   

LJMU Copperas Hill Building
City States

I had a walk around the old royal mail building and while the exhibits were interesting in there, I was more fascinated by the old building and its remnants of its previous life. I love walking around old and empty buildings and this was well worth a visit.


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