Tell Me, How Does It Feel?
Can contemporary art touch you? And what will it feel like if it does? SevenStreets asks the curators to help us feel our way through the Biennial...
The Biennial: Touched is all over us. Like a lovely, colourful and exotic rash. And, throughout, we’ll be shamelessly showing you the best bits. But, before we have a chance to cast our steely gaze on the good, the bad and the ‘what the…?’ we thought we’d ask the curators about what we can expect on our journey through the city’s galleries over the next couple of months. First up, Tate Liverpool, FACT and the A Foundation.
What are you doing for Touched?
Mother’s touch is the theme that brings together art by artists Tehching Hsieh, Minouk Lim, Kaarina Kaikkonen, Yves Netzhammer and Meiro Koizumi at FACT. This will be first exhibition in the Europe, of the work of Tehching Hsieh, a legendary artist who has inspired me for years along with many influential artists and thinkers including: Ai Weiwei and Marina Abramovic. All the artists in this exhibition are extraordinary, they have been truly touched and like most good artists feel compelled in what they do. This ability to open channels to the subconscious mind and look beyond normal logic is what makes artists powerful and important in society. I hope we learn something about ourselves and remember what it is to be touched and to remember to touch others.
Peter Gorschlüter, Curator, Tate Liverpool:
A sculptural happening with the kind of proximity, action and physical contact you might not expect to encounter in a museum or art gallery. This includes on-going live interventions and appearances by artists, performing objects, as well as installations and sculptures which can be explored by visitors. Artists who came to prominence in the 1960s/1970s and pioneered practices that explored the ways in which life could be unified with our experience of art are brought together with a younger generation of artists to reflect on the theme of ‘touched’.
Mark Waugh, Curator, A Foundation:
For Touched A Foundation will be hosting Bloomberg New Contemporaries, an exhibition full of exceptional emerging artists. Our two commissions will touch audiences through the ideas the artists; Sachiko Abe and Antti. Laitinen, main pic above, explore in their works. Both artists use simple materials such as paper and bark to produce immerse installations and performance.
What will we be touched by?
The immensity and determination of Tehching Hsieh year-long performance, where for one year between April 11, 1980 through April 11, 1981, Hsieh punched a time clock every hour on the hour in his apartment. It was one of a series of performances he did and he’s now retired from art so it’s going to be a fantastic thing for audiences to see. It begs us to think for ourselves as to his motivations and purpose.
The love and pain felt in Minouk Lim’s Weight of Hands. The scale and physicality of Kaarina Kaikkonen’s giant sculpture now hanging in our atrium – and the generosity of all the people who donated their clothes to create it. The sinister subconscious dreaming of Yves Netzhammer. Meiro Koizumi’s failure to communicate in a disconnected world in his video work.
Touched at Tate Liverpool aims to connect explicitly with the concept and mission of the Biennial as an exhibition situated in the public realm. For the first time, admission to Tate Liverpool’s exhibition is free of charge, and the gallery will host a Biennial visitor centre to facilitate visitors in gaining the most from the festival.
We hope people will be touched enough to return to the exhibitions to see them mutate and grow throughout the Biennial’s run.
What touches you?
Small things. The incidental. Observation. Memory. Love. Flickering light. Tears. Coincidence, Help. Determination. Passion. Warmth. My children. My wife. My life. And of course the openness and generosity in the conversations with the artists that lead to this exhibition.
The recurrent failure of rationality and how people deal with the collapse of logical reasoning in everyday situations. I occasionally encounter these moments in my life, and more often in art. These moments can bring hilarity or be unbearably painful. Sometimes they can be both.
I will be touched if Anti manages to navigate the Mersey and Sachiko cuts more papers to add to 32,000 she has used in her work.
Liverpool International Biennial
18 Sept-28 Nov: Various venues
For comprehensive listings, we recommend: www.artinliverpool.com