We admit it, we felt left out – everyone else in the city was doing something Biennial-related. What could SevenStreets do?
Then we remembered the city’s leading art gallery was being knocked down. Our priceless collection of aluminium-backed laser etchings, hung in celebration of our Capital of Culture year, (and seen by more people than every other Capital of Culture event put together) was about to be wiped from our collective consciousness.
It was a race against time. Could we save one of the Edge Lane Boards from almost certain annihilation – and return it, Elgin Marbles-like, to its people?
Liverpool City Council curated this landmark exhibition – spending £100,000 of our money on the al fresco artwork. Committed to a singular and uncompromising curatorial vision, the Council insisted that this site-specific piece of art in the public realm be hung along a procession of 371 perfectly sound Edwardian and Victorian houses.
“We were inspired by sculptor Rachel Whitehead’s use of negative domestic space,” a spokesperson from Liverpool Culture Company told us, on the ‘phone from Melbourne, “but, obviously, in order to achieve this, we had to dis-inhabit the spaces, or houses, first.”
“We were really interested in exploring the residue of years of continual family memories. Affixing metal cages where the windows once let in light, powerfully focused the eye on the line and form of these ‘Pathfinder’ sculptures,” the spokesperson told SevenStreets.
The houses – or ‘hanging palimpsests’ as Waldemar Januszczak famously dubbed them in his Sunday Times review – have since been carefully dismantled, and reassembled brick by brick in the Saachi gallery. Liverpool Council insisted on paying the £57.7million ‘rehanging’ fee before the exhibition, ‘Another Place 2 – The Edge (Lane) of Darkness’, was warmly received by critics and demolition contractors alike.
The masterstroke of the installation, however, lay on the outer skin of these striking metal grills.
Created by children with a primitive understanding of the subtlety and nuances of ethnographical art, they were wildly celebratory, and distinctly uncompromising representations of our city’s cultural DNA.
Looking back, we’re not afraid to admit it, even SevenStreets didn’t appreciate this seismic street exhibition at first. Talk about Shock of the New.
Two years ago, we thought such a commission foolhardy. Now, as everyone knows, the Take Hart art market has turned full circle, as can be seen in the recent unveiling of the similarly faux-naïve inspired ‘Lennon Peace Monument’ in Chavasse Park, costing £200,000, by teenage Stuckist superstar Lauren Childish.
And so, armed with only our simple crowbar of truth, and our trusty bin bag of concealment, we secretly salvaged one of the most famous scenes in this latter day Rakes Progress of artistic conceits, ‘The Tomlinson Apparition’ (based on an original in Wildenstein Gallery, Manhattan).
We invited eminent art critic, Brian Sewell, to comment on the piece:
“One is immediately drawn to the artist’s emancipation from the meritless neo-conceptual aesthetic, and how, with his wild Fauvist palette, he creates a coup de theatre of Hogarthian élan. It would look proper boss in your John Moores’ halls of residence common room, propped up on some repurposed traffic cones.”
Visit Edge Lane today, and there’s nothing left of this remarkable and brave piece of public art programming but brick dust and memories.
But SevenStreets has managed to salvage a small part of it – at no small personal risk – to give away to one lucky reader.
Keep your eyes peeled. We’ll be tweeting out our competition – all we ask is you spread the love and RT the announcement. We’ll pick a retweet at random, and bring the van round.
Reclaim the streets. Stay SevenStreets.