In Memoriam

So, farewell then,
Turning The Place Over,
Formerly at Yates’ Wine Lodge, Moorfields

You have been rotating for three years,
astonishing passers-by
and angering people who thought you were a waste of money

Paid for by Liverpool’s QUANGOs
and designed by Richard Wilson
Now you are gone
“I don’t believe it.”

S E Streets
Diameter 26.5 feet

Press release – as they say – after the jump.

Turning the Place Over Now Closed

Richard Wilson’s stunning Turning the Place Over at Moorfields, Liverpool has now closed after more than three and a half years of operation. It has turned during daylight hours, with the occasional break for maintenance, since May 2007 and has been seen by an estimated three and a half million people.

The temporary artwork was conceived as a trailblazer for Liverpool’s year as European Capital of Culture and originally expected to be exhibited only into 2008. It has proved enduringly popular with visitors and local people alike, often causing passers-by to gasp in amazement or reach for their cameras. It was a star of YouTube even before it was launched and the more than 100 videos of Turning the Place Over on the site have received hundreds of thousands of viewings with one attracting over half a million views alone.

It was possible to extend the life of the iconic attraction beyond the planned exhibtion period thanks, in particular, to the support of project mechanical engineers, Bode Positioners Ltd, Lindhurst Engineering, as well as Liverpool City Council.

The former Yates’s Wine Lodge building and site will now be permanently protected against the elements and be available for any future commercial development.

Richard Wilson commented, “Find one empty property, tweak it with a clever idea, enlist a great team of makers and shakers to create a sculptural formula that attracted people’s attention from all over the world. It has been a privilege to have placed in Liverpool such an acclaimed artwork that in part doffed a cap to this city’s engineering heritage”.

Liverpool Biennial Director of Public Art, Laurie Peake added, “It has been wonderful to keep the work turning for an extra two years and I hope that those who saw it will remember this audacious feat of imagination and engineering for years to come.”

Editors Notes:

The most daring piece of public art ever commissioned in the UK, Turning the Place Over was artist Richard Wilson’s most radical intervention into architecture to date: turning a building in Liverpool’s city centre literally inside out. One of Wilson’s very rare temporary works, Turning the Place Over colonised Cross Keys House, Moorfields, which was launched on 18 May 2007 and closed on 8 January 2011.

Co-commissioned by the Liverpool Culture Company and Liverpool Biennial, co-funded by the Northwest Regional Development Agency and The Northern Way, and facilitated by Liverpool Vision, the project was a stunning trailblazer for Liverpool’s Year as European Capital of Culture 2008, and the jewel in the crown of the Culture Company’s public art programme.

Richard Wilson is one of Britain’s most renowned sculptors. He is internationally celebrated for his interventions in architectural space that draw heavily for their inspiration from the worlds of engineering and construction.

Turning the Place Over consisted of an 8 metres diameter ovoid cut from the façade of a building in Liverpool city centre and made to oscillate in three dimensions. The revolving façade rests on a specially designed giant rotator, usually used in the shipping and nuclear industries, and acted as a huge opening and closing ‘window’, offering recurrent glimpses of the interior during its constant cycle during daylight hours.

The construction programme started in February 2007 and involved the careful deconstruction of the façade across three floors of the building, which was then reconstructed and fixed to the enormous pivot installed at the heart of the building. This astonishing feat of engineering stunned audiences on many levels. Disturbing and disorientating from a distance, from close-up passers-by had a thrilling experience as the building rotated above them.

Wilson has exhibited widely nationally and internationally for the past twenty years and has made major museum exhibitions and public works throughout the world. Wilson has also represented Britain in the Sydney, Sao Paulo and Venice Bienniales and been nominated for the Turner Prize on two occasions. He was one of a select number of artists invited to create a major public work for The Millennium Dome and the only British artist invited to participate in Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennial 2000, the largest contemporary art project ever staged in Japan.

Wilson’s past projects have generated both critical and popular acclaim. His seminal installation 20:50, a sea of reflective sump oil which is permanently installed in the Saatchi Collection, was described as ‘one of the masterpieces of the modern age’ by the art critic Andrew Graham Dixon in the BBC television series The History of British Art.

Cross Keys House (located at 37-41 Moorfields, Liverpool, L2) is a former Yates’ Wine Lodge and is currently owned by Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA). The NWDA leads the economic development and regeneration of England’s Northwest and is responsible for: supporting business growth and encouraging investment; matching skills provision to employer needs; creating the conditions for economic growth; connecting the region through effective transport and communication infrastructure and promoting the region’s outstanding quality of life For more information visit

Turning the Place Over was funded by The Northern Way as part of its £4.4million Welcome to the North public arts programme. A small number of iconic artworks were positioned at key gateways as part of an innovative overall £10 million programme, which has been developed with Arts Council England, the three northern Cultural Consortia and other partners. The Northern Way was a unique collaboration led by the three Northern Regional Development Agencies (One NorthEast, Northwest Regional Development Agency and Yorkshire Forward) working with partners including Arts Council England to close the £30 billion output gap between the North and the average for England over a 25 year period.

Contractors who worked on Turning The Place Over included: Structural Engineers – Price & Myers LLP, Mechanical Engineers – Bode Positioners Ltd, Quantity Surveyors – Nic Porter Associates, Construction – Askham Construction, Steel fabricators – Lindhurst Engineering.

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