Céline Condorelli, view of Portal: Children's Episode, at Cains Brewery, Liverpool Biennial, 2016, Liverpool, United Kingdom. Photo: Jerry Hardman-Jones.
In a television series, the arc of each episode may take the characters through different worlds, but they always return to the same state of affairs by the end. The 2016 Liverpool Biennial unfolds through the landscape of the city, organized as a story narrated in several episodes: fictional worlds sited in galleries, museums, pubs, unused spaces, stations, hotels, shops, and supermarkets. For the Biennial, Condorelli has created a series of “portals,” which act as entrances to the episodes through which the exhibition unfolds. These entrances range from physical constructions to sounds and images, alluding to entering both physical and conceptual architecture. The commissions engage in a dialogue with the existing fabric of the city—for example, responding to the casting of Liverpool as a second version of ancient Greece in the early 1800s—to make a meaningful contribution to wider discourse on the relationship between art and architecture.
Céline Condorelli lives in London. Her installations, publications, and curatorial projects combine a number of approaches, from developing structures to “support” (the work of others, forms of the political imaginary, existing and fictional realities) to broader inquiries into forms of commonality and discursive sites. Her practice is fundamentally informed by architecture, a discipline in which the artist holds numerous degrees, including a PhD from Goldsmiths College in London. She is one of the founding directors of Eastside Projects, Birmingham, UK. Her recent solo exhibitions include HangarBicocca, Milan, Italy (2015); Chisenhale Gallery, London, UK (2014); the Museum of Contemporary Art, Leipzig, Germany (2014); Project Dublin, Dublin, Ireland (2013); and Pavilion, Leeds, UK (2012). In addition, she has presented work in group exhibitions, in venues such as Van Abbemuseum, the Netherlands (2014).
The curatorial faculty model of the 2016 Liverpool Biennial opens the commissioning process to artists, visual arts professionals, and the public. This model sees value in bringing divergent voices together through private, public, and online debate to rethink the role of visual art in the contemporary urban environment. The curatorial faculty is complemented by the voices who join the conversation along the way, sharing different interests and expertise. The core team of curators includes: Sally Tallant, Dominic Willsdon, Francesco Manacorda, Raimundas Malasauskas, Joasia Krysa, Rosie Cooper, Polly Brannan, Francesca Bertolotti-Bailey, Ying Tan, and Sandeep Parmar.
Sally Tallant is the director of the Liverpool Biennial. From 2001 to 2011, she was head of programs at the Serpentine Gallery, London, where she was responsible for the development and delivery of an integrated program of exhibitions, architecture, education, and public events. She is a Board member of the International Biennial Association, and a member of the London Regional Council for the Arts Council of England.
Dominic Willsdon is Leanne and George Roberts Curator of Education and Public Practice at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and professor of curatorial practice at the California College of the Arts. He was Pedagogical Cloud Curator of the 9th Bienal do Mercosul/Porto Alegre (2013). Willsdon’s recent and current projects include the exhibition Public Intimacy: Art and Other Ordinary Acts in South Africa (2014), the symposium Visual Activism (2014), and the book Public Servants: Art and the Crisis of the Common Good (forthcoming).
Francesco Manacorda is artistic director at the Tate Liverpool. From 2010 to 2012, he was director of Artissima in Turin, and between 2007 and 2009, served as curator for Barbican Art Gallery, London, where he realized Martian Museum of Terrestrial Art (2008) and Radical Nature (2009). In 2007, he curated Venetian, Atmospheric: Tobias Putrih, the Slovenian Pavilion at the 52nd Venice Biennale.
Raimundas Malašauskas curates often, and writes occasionally. Recent projects include In My Previous Life I Wanted to Be a Tablet, Instituto de Vision, Bogota (2015); Tomorrow night I walked into a dark black star, Universidad Di Tella, Buenos Aires (2014); and Oo, the Lithuanian and Cyprus Pavilions at the 55th Venice Biennale (2013). He has cowritten the libretto of an opera, produced a monthly television show, and was an agent for dOCUMENTA 13.
Joasia Krysa is head of research at the Liverpool Biennial, in partnership with Liverpool John Moores University, where she is director of the Exhibition Research Center. Formerly, she served as artistic director of Kunsthal Aarhus, Denmark (2012–15) and as part of curatorial team for dOCUMENTA 13 (2009–12), under the artistic director Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev. Most recently, she coedited (with Jussi Parikka) the book Writing and Unwriting Media Art History (MIT Press, 2015), and contributed chapters to Networks (MIT Press/Whitechapel, 2014) and The Routledge Companion to Art and Politics (2015).
Rosie Cooper is head of programs at the Liverpool Biennial. Previously, she served as public program curator at Barbican Art Gallery from 2009 to 2011. Her current and previous projects include Bob Jubile (2011–), a series of events, displays, and publications on poet and organizer Bob Cobbing (1920–2002), co-curated with William Cobbing; More Soup and Tart, Barbican (2011); and Tableau Vivant: A Wandering Retrospective, Prospect New Orleans (2010).
Polly Brannan is education curator at the Liverpool Biennial. She is an artist and educator who has produced projects at Frieze Art Fair, the Lisbon Experimenta Festival, and the Nottingham Contemporary, among others. She was collaborations curator at Studio Voltaire from 2006 to 2009, and education curator at Serpentine Gallery from 2011 to 2013. She is cofounder of the network Avant Gardening, and was a member of the collective public works from 2005 to 2011.
Francesca Bertolotti-Bailey is head of production and international projects at the Liverpool Biennial. From 2010 to 2014, she was responsible for curatorial projects at Artissima, Turin, and from 2007 to 2009, she led the curatorial department of the Hangar Bicocca, Milan. As a freelance producer, she has organized projects by Alfredo Jaar, Mark Lewis, Raimundas Malašauskas, and Rosalind Nashashibi, under the auspices of the 10th Annual Sharjah Biennial in 2011 and the 55th Venice Biennale in 2013, among others.
Ying Tan is currently the curator for the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art (CFCCA), where she is in charge of the annual program of exhibitions, public programs, and national and international touring shows. She has curated numerous exhibitions at the CFCCA, in addition to many off-site projects in London and internationally. She serves as a visiting lecturer for Christie's Education (UK) and contributes to Kaleidoscope Asia magazine. Her recent projects include: Floating Cinema (UP Projects, London), the 2014 Asia Triennial Manchester (CFCCA), and Curating Each Other (Connecting Space, Hong Kong).
Sandeep Parmar co-directs the Centre for New and International Writing and is senior lecturer in English literature at the University of Liverpool. She is the author of Reading Mina Loy's Autobiographies; scholarly editions of The Collected Poems of Hope Mirrlees and The Selected Poems of Nancy Cunard; and two poetry books, The Marble Orchard and Eidolon (a rewriting of Helen of Troy in modern America). She is also a BBC “New Generation Thinker.”
Founded in 1998, the Liverpool Biennial presents a free festival of contemporary art from around the world. It takes place over fourteen weeks across the city in public places, galleries, and online. The Liverpool Biennial is underpinned by a program of research, education, residencies, and commissions.