Liverpool Biennial Live at LICA Supporters Trip

Author: Caroline Maclennan
28th October 2014 at 14:23

Liverpool Biennial 2014 – ‘A Needle Walks Into A Haystack’


Gripping our coffee cups tightly, we tentatively made our way to the minibus, and thus our little band set out in pursuit of day of artistic immersion.


Even battling against the winds of the Liverpool coast was not enough to dissuade us, and we were soon rewarded with our first stop: Tate Liverpool. Something between a gallery and a skate park, the Wolfson Gallery had been transformed by Claude Parent into a space of ramps and asymmetrical walls and passages. The assistant curator provided intriguing anecdotes with regards to the construction of the exhibition, explaining how the process often involves negotiation. After learning more about the light-hearted nature of the title, ‘A Needle Walks Into a Haystack’, and the enjoyment gained by those participating in setting up these events, I can see why galleries are keener to get involved. Not only this, but now we were part of the experience!


That’s what art is – something to be experienced. Next, Sharon Lockhart’s contribution involved a series of videos of young Polish children playing together, which was yet another playful illustration of how we can explore our own environment. The loose theme of the Biennial seemed to emphasise the idea of habitats, and where other than the Old Blind School could you find a better epitome? Crumbling bricks, and paint-chipped walls, no one could deny that the atmosphere in this building is tangible. I wish I had a day there, a week there, time to simply wander its faded hallways, and scurry up and down stairways flanked by old metal rails. Each corner concealed its own set of artworks, so with each transition, from room to room, you felt like you were passing through to another space entirely. The lack of thematic restriction meant that it felt like the building alone held together these collected personalities, each enticing you to amble onwards.
One final treat to end the day was a reading and discussion with Eileen Myles. Previously unknown to me, I have had the pleasure of discovering yet another writer to follow. Full of wit and insight, her engagement with us was refreshing, located in the warm cosy setting of the Bluecoat. The rain, ever-persistent, dampened only our clothes as we continued to chatter about the day’s events on our way back to the minibus.


I remember sitting on the journey back, shivering from head to toe, wishing I worn more layers, dreading the work I was to return to, but not regretting a single thing. I was content to mull over everything I had seen and experienced, and cherish the (many) photos I had taken. I remembered why I like being an artist.


I realise in writing in this way, I have cultivated a rather emphatic rendition of the trip, but in all honesty, it was one well worth making, and one that has meant a lot to me. Of course, it has only been possible through the excellent contacts and organisation of the Live at LICA team, and I hope there will be equally inspiring events in the future. Thanks to everyone involved.

Hannah Boaden, Fine Art Student (23/10/14) 

Photograph: Biennial trip attendees. Photograph by Hannah Boaden.