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Southport and  Mersey Reporter -  Your free online newspaper service covering the Merseyside region - (Greater Liverpool).
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Issue Date:-22 September 2008


ARACHNOPHOBES beware! Another giant spider is visiting Liverpool.  This is, however, a far more delicate individual than its predecessor of a few weeks ago, which fled the city via the Mersey Tunnel, so is obviously not one of its progeny.  The creature is currently to be seen immobile and suspended from its huge web, high above Exchange Flags, behind the Town Hall; its glittery, crystal body enhanced by LED dewdrops.  It is the work of Ai Weiwei, the Chinese “artist, architect, curator and prolific blogger”, who was a collaborator in the design of the Bird’s Nest Olympic Stadium in Beijing.  According to the description given, Ai Weiwei “often draws on the materials of the past for his work, transforming them through assembly, remoulding, or sheer destruction, into present day community.”  Appearing as part of Liverpool’s 5th Biennial International Exhibition, MADE UP, which commenced on 20 September 2008 and will continue until 30 November 2008, this is just one of around 40 projects on show at venues around the city.  These works are by leading and emerging contemporary artists, and are mainly new commissions, although selected key works, as yet unseen in the UK, will also feature.  MADE UP is described as an “exploration of the ecology of the artistic imagination” and it “highlights art’s capacity to transport us, suspend disbelief and generate alternative realities.” It asserts that imagination is the dynamo of art and that making things up is the emotional charge which powers the artistic imagination.  Also photographed, on Dale Street/Cunliffe Street, is one part in a number, spread across the city, which comprises a work by Finnish artist, Otto Karvonen.  Karonen, it is stated, “makes simple, often humorous interventions into everyday life, designed to prompt us to question the nature of reality and our beliefs”.  In this latest work he “crossbreeds personal observations with the formal language of street signage to reveal the cityscape as a series of overlapping and modulated realities”.  Other artists involved include Atelier Bow-Wow, Yoko Ono, Jesper Just and Alison Jackson, to name only a few.  Also mentioned on the trail are works of longer standing in and around the city such as Richard Wilson’s ‘Turning the Place Over’ in Moorfields and Antony Gormley’s ‘Another Place’, on Crosby beach.  Major galleries, both cathedrals and other venues throughout the area hold a wide range of fascinating exhibits including Jyll Bradley’s captivating, ‘The Botanic Garden’ at the Walker Art Gallery, until 31 October 2008 and Steve McQueen’s ‘Queen and Country’, in St George’s Hall, to 31 October 2008 There is a feast throughout the duration of the festival and beyond to be explored and deliberated.

A map of locations, which guides visitors around a trail of projects around the city and lists major exhibitions, can be obtained, along with other information from:-

The Visitors’ Centre (former ABC Cinema), Lime Street, open daily 10:00 to 18:00 GMT.  Tel.  (+44) 0 845 220 2800 or  (+44) 0 151 708 9157.

Also Watch out for details of Liverpool Irish Festival, 17 October 2008 to 2 November 2008.

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