The artist list and concept for Liverpool Biennial 2020, the UK biennial of contemporary art, have been announced. Titled The Stomach and the Port, the 11th edition explores notions of the body. Drawing on non-Western ways of thinking, Liverpool Biennial 2020 challenges an understanding of the individual as a defined, self-sufficient entity. The body is instead seen as a fluid organism that is continuously shaped by and shaping its environment. A plethora of artistic practices inform this edition: many of the artworks include sound, shun direct representation, de-stabilise gender categories or look at intense forms of contact.
The Stomach and the Port develops through three entry points—stomach, porosity and kin. The stomach is viewed as a primary organ engaging with the world. Porosity is embraced as a way of responding to borders or the strict contours of the skin. The notion of kin is revisited as a social tissue that prepares us for abundant futures. Liverpool, and its maritime history as a point of global contact and circulation, provides the perfect ecosystem to situate these enquiries.
More than 50 international artists have been invited to respond to the theme within the context of the city:
Larry Achiampong, Erick Beltrán, Diego Bianchi, Alice Channer, Judy Chicago, Ithell Colquhuon, Christopher Cozier, Yael Davids, Ines Doujak & John Barker, Dr. Lakra, Jadé Fadojutimi, Jes Fan, Lamin Fofana, Ebony G. Patterson, Sonia Gomes, Ane Graff, Ayesha Hameed, Camille Henrot, Nicholas Hlobo, Laura Huertas Millán, Sohrab Hura, Evan Ifekoya, Invernomuto & Jim C. Nedd, Rashid Johnson, KeKeÇa, Jutta Koether, Last Yearz Interesting Negro, Ligia Lewis, Linder, Luo Jr‐shin, Jorge Menna Barreto, Haroon Mirza, Neo Muyanga, Pedro Neves Marques, Roland Persson, Anu Põder, Reto Pulfer, André Romão, Kathleen Ryan, Zineb Sedira, Xaviera Simmons, Teresa Solar, Daniel Steegmann Mangrané, Jenna Sutela, UBERMORGEN & Leonardo Impett, Luisa Ungar, Alberta Whittle, Zheng Bo, David Zink Yi
The artists in this edition share concerns with the definition, invention and circulation of bodies and their knowledges. They engage with histories of contamination and gather together ways of understanding our bodies as zones capable of expansion: where agency can be distributed amongst beings, ideas of representation are substituted by forms of embodiment, and concepts of kinship extend beyond everyday human experience towards a more inclusive society.
The Biennial programme will be presented in locations across Liverpool, including public and unexpected spaces, historic sites and the city’s leading art venues: Bluecoat, FACT, Open Eye Gallery, Tate Liverpool and Victoria Gallery & Museum. New for 2020, Liverpool Biennial’s reach will also expand to the city’s historic Fabric District. A dynamic programme of free exhibitions, performances, screenings and fringe events will unfold over the 15 weeks, shining a light on the city’s vibrant cultural scene.
Accreditation for the Liverpool Biennial previews on July 9–10, 2020 is now open to arts professionals. Register here.
Liverpool Biennial 2020: The Stomach and the Port is curated by Manuela Moscoso with artistic director Fatoş Üstek and the Liverpool Biennial team.