POLISH up your Doric columns, folks, Liverpool is taking on the look of Ancient Greece and Nelson Street's Chinese arch is to become a time and space gateway to the world.

The city's Chinatown landmark, neoclassical buildings, pubs, stations, car parks and shops are to loom extra large in a 14-week "soap opera" of art, as plans for the 2016 Biennial are revealed.

The 9th festival of contemporary art will open on Saturday 9 July 2016 and will use the city's landscape to feature the work of dozens of international artists.

The 14 weeks is going to be all about one continuous story, say organisers, taking inspiration from Liverpool’s present, past and future.

"Fictional worlds" will be sited in a variety of public used and disused spaces. An imaginary version of Ancient Greece will be set amongst Liverpool’s neoclassical buildings. Meanwhile, the Chinatown arch is imagined as "a portal through time and space, connecting Chinatowns across the world".

The detail is yet to be filled in, but the first wave of 37 international artists have been named, including Birkenhead born Mark Leckey. 

For the first time, children will have the opportunity to work together with artists and the Biennial team to develop ambitious exhibitions, projects and publications specifically for young audiences.

Sally Tallant, director of Liverpool Biennial, said: “We are looking forward to working with artists from Asia, India, North and South America, the Middle East, Russia and Europe in the city. It is exciting to bring these artists together with the people of Liverpool to make this a place where art and artists can thrive and to create a focus for international contemporary art.”

Liverpool Biennial 2016 is curated by Tallant as well as Francesco Manacorda, artistic driector of Tale Liverpool;  Dominic Willsdon, Curator of Education and Public Practice at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Raimundas Malasauskas, a freelance curator and Joasia Krysa, Rosie Cooper, Polly Brannan and Francesca Bertolotti-Bailey who all work in house.

Also showing during Liverpool Biennial 2016 are the John Moores Painting Prize at the Walker Art Gallery, Bloomberg New Contemporaries at Bluecoat, and the Biennial fringe. 

*Liverpool Biennial 2016, 9 July – 16 October 2016, www.biennial.com #Biennial2016


BIENNIAL 2016: The artists so far. See their stuff in this video


"Many animated sitcoms and series with a limited set of characters develop across episodes which don’t have a temporal continuity" it says on the Biennial 2016 website.
"Think about Family Guy or Star Trek. 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. Each show’s essential situation is restored within 45 minutes. It is why we can watch episodes in any order. It is also what allows the characters (and us) to travel to wildly different times and places, to the distant past and to the far future. It is because the characters stay the same that the worlds can change.

Artists participating in Liverpool Biennial 2016 are invited to contribute to the design of a number of episodes, together and with the curatorial faculty, taking the following scenarios as starting points. Through conversation, Ancient Greece and its spacetime parameters might become Medieval Europe, and a virus might become software."