Sculpture Displays Take Shape At Tate

Leading cultural figures from different disciplines will be bringing their own unique vision to bear on sculpture from the Tate Collection for DLA Piper Series: This is Sculpture starting 1 May 2009.

Transforming the first and second floor galleries are artist Michael Craig-Martin; designer Wayne Hemingway and his son Jack; and artist, director and writer Tim Etchells. From 1 May 2009 the co-curators present dedicated displays of sculpture which have been selected in conjunction with Tate Liverpool curators. The displays feature masterpieces from the Tate Collection by artists such as Pablo Picasso, Fernand Leger, Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth, alongside recent acquisitions of contemporary art by Sarah Lucas, Jim Lambie and Terence Koh, among others.

Michael Craig-Martin – ‘Sculpture: The Physical World’

Artist Michael Craig-Martin will select and arrange works from the Tate Collection to focus on the complex ways that sculpture informs our understanding and experience of the physical world. By exploring sculpture's use of visual language and its interplay with materials, everyday objects, colour, scale, juxtapositions and references, Craig-Martin will emphasise the direct physical, as well as visual, response of the viewer in relation to the art.

Craig-Martin will create a new context for the works in the collection by painting each of the three gallery spaces a different vivid colour, centred around a new large-scale wall drawing made specially for the space. In his signature style, this drawing combines the word ‘sculpture’ with boldly outlined motifs of dozens of everyday objects, from footballs to coathangers. Masterpieces from Michael Craig-Martin’s section of the display include Amedeo Modigliani’s Head (1911-2), Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain (1917, replica 1964), Pablo Picasso’s Cock (1932, cast 1952), Donald Judd’s Untitled (1973), and Franz West’s Viennoiserie (1998).

Born in Dublin in 1941 and educated in the United States, Michael Craig-Martin returned to Europe in the mid-1960s when he confirmed his position as one of Britain’s first conceptual artists. Between 1974-1988 and 1994-2000 he taught at Goldsmiths College where he was a powerful influence on a generation of emerging British artists.

Wayne Hemingway & Son – ‘Sculpture Remixed’

Designer Wayne Hemingway & Son will radically transform one half of Tate Liverpool’s second floor gallery. Designed to counteract the perception of galleries as stuffy, formal spaces, Hemingway & Son will juxtapose figurative sculpture with an interactive disco environment. 25 life-size sculptures, from the late 19th century to the present day, will tell the story of the human body as represented through sculpture. These works will be presented in an innovative and exciting way: a light-up dancefloor will occupy the centre of the space and visitors will be invited to take part in a silent disco. To provide an alternative gallery experience visitors can pick up wireless headphones and listen to specially-selected tracklists. Hemingway & Son experiment with innovative and quirky ways to present the artworks – ambient lighting, mirror balls, specially created plinths and a dancefloor designed by Kathrine Sandys (Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts). Highlights include Edgar Degas’ Little Dancer Aged Fourteen (1880-1), Germaine Richier’s Shepherd of the Landes (1951, cast 1996), Antony Gormley’s Three Ways: Mould, Hole and Passage (1981), and Ron Mueck’s Ghost (1998).

Wayne Hemingway (48) and Jack Hemingway (22) work together at HemingwayDesign, which specialises in affordable and social design. Current projects include the design of large affordable housing schemes and a range of home offices called ShedQuarters. Wayne Hemingway co-founded the acclaimed fashion label Red or Dead, which was sold in 1999 after 21 consecutive catwalk seasons. Wayne was awarded an MBE for services to design in 2006. Both ardent fans of Blackburn Rovers, they also share a passion for soul music and regularly DJ throughout the UK.

Tim Etchells – ‘Performing Sculpture’

Tim Etchells, Artistic Director of celebrated theatre company Forced Entertainment, will draw on his experience to explore the role of sculpture as performance.One half of the second floor will be dedicated to exploring ‘sculptures that perform’, typified by the works of artists such as Jean Tinguely, the ‘performed sculpture’ enacted by artists such as Helen Chadwick, alongside sculptures that invite the viewer to ‘perform’, such as Luis Camnitzer’s work Sentences (1966).Tim Etchells will also be presenting an ongoing performance entitled In Many Ways, in which a performer moves a chair to occupy many different positions marked by dots on the gallery floor. The positions relate to the possibilities of the gallery – a space for looking and for being looked at, a space to be observed, a space to be occupied, a space of isolation and a space of social interaction. Major works from the Tate collection featured in Tim Etchells’ section of the display include Piero Manzoni’s Artist’s Breath (1960), Rebecca Horn’s Mechanical Body Fan (1973-4) and Gilbert & George’s Happy (1980). This display will also feature Invisible Moving Wall (2001) by Jeppe Hein, where a large wall slowly moves within the space.

Alongside his work with Forced Entertainment, established in 1984, Tim has collaborated with a range of other artists, choreographers and writers and has created work in diverse media from performance to video to installation and works on paper. He is also a unique voice in writing fiction and in writing about performance. He has recently been awarded one of two Legacy: Thinker in Residence awards, a one-off initiative between the Live Art Development Agency and Tate Research.

Speaking of the displays Philip Rooney, Managing Partner at DLA Piper Liverpool said: “Great cities need great culture to thrive, and with Liverpool European Capital of Culture 2008 we have seen that culture can be a driver of change for residents, visitors and business. The DLA Piper Series: This is Sculpture display builds on the legacy of 2008 and strengthens Liverpool's position as one of the world's great cities. Seeing sculpture presented in such new and innovative ways is both exciting and important. The vision of co-curators from different disciplines presents an opportunity for visitors to experience a range of works from the Tate Collection in bold settings.” -- www.tate.org.uk

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