You know the feeling of being a tourist? The feeling that everybody around you knows perfectly well that you’re a visitor. The sensation that you’re missing out on all the fun of the city’s little known hideouts as you ominously follow the pages of your guidebook.

Well, this sensation is a frequent one in Liverpool, as our city attracts more than 75 million tourists each year.

With the spotlight securely on the UK and in particular London this year, Liverpool Biennial has invited artists to explore the complex theme of hospitality in its appropriately named exhibition, The Unexpected Guest.

Sally Tallant, director of Liverpool Biennial, explains: “Hospitality in the Olympic year is especially important and Liverpool Biennial 2012 considers the question of ‘hospitality’ as a starting point. To whom are we hospitable? And for how long?”

Artists are set to play on the exclusive nature of some of our urban spaces, which often appear unfamiliar and uninviting to foreigners.

Exhibits will include an open VIP door obstructed by bouncers and a lift erupting through the floor of Liverpool One.

Liverpool will welcome American artist Doug Aitken’s first UK public installation. To be displayed at the Albert Dock, it will be an immersive structure designed in collaboration with world-renowned architect, David Adjaye OBE.

Aitken explains that the exhibition will forge “a borderless new creative territory”, in which we can celebrate the power of the individual.

The exhibition will be the outcome of collaboration between more than 60 leading and emerging artists from all over the world in key locations across the city.

For the first time, the Grade II listed Cunard building will open its doors to artists as a venue for the exhibition.

Sally Tallant, who also acts as Head of Programmes at London’s Serpentine Gallery, comments that this year’s Biennial will focus on integrated arts practice rather than a celebration of individual works.

Liverpool Biennial
15 September – 25 November 2012

April Armstrong–Bascombe

  • Steve

    This is a really nice fresh and optimistic change from most pieces of news about the olympics and the arts which are mostly gloomy! It looks like they’ve got some fantastic artists coming over this summer – I think that all these events will really help enhance Liverpool’s great reputation for making art and music of global importance and reknown, you don’t hear enough about Liverpool in the news and its a shame so hopefully more of this to come. I’m definitely going to keep tabs on these exhibits, if they have anything like the wow factor of that massive puppet performance earlier this year its going to be brilliant.