How can the past be re-activated by physical presence? Two of this year’s Liverpool Biennial artists, a German painter and a Japanese performance artist, will explore the relationship between the historical documentation of performance and contemporary hybrid forms – such as painting that depicts performance and performance that doubles as installation.
Silke Otto-Knapp (b.1970) is an artist living and working in Los Angeles, USA. At the centre of the works of Otto-Knapp is the construct of the stage. Motifs range from choreographed groups of figures, historical stage sets, as well as pared down landscapes. Otto-Knapp works with watercolour on canvas using a process of removal and accumulation of pigment in order to create spaces where the flatness of the pictorial space intersects with an illusionistic construction of space. Recent exhibitions include Midway Contemporary, Minneapolis, USA (2017/18) Regen Projects, Los Angeles, USA (2017); Mary Boone Gallery, New York, USA (2017); greengrassi, London, UK (2016); and Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, USA (2016).
Ei Arakawa (b.1977) is an artist currently living in New York. Arakawa works in performance, sculpture and installation, often elaborating hybrid and multimedia works which are situated within or spun off from live, choreographed events. His complex performance works are typically collaborative and subvert performative conventions by breaking the boundaries between audience and performer, resulting in spontaneous live actions. Sometimes incorporating other artists’ works as source material, his projects rethink traditional notions of authorship, subjectivity, temporal and geographical context, while also interrogating the politics of collaboration. Arakawa’s recent experimentations with the form of ‘musical theater’ involve the staging and choreography of art historical research as well as the production of spectacular ‘paintings’ made with LED lights and digital sound. Recent exhibitions include Skulptur Projekte Münster, Germany (2017); 9th Berlin Biennale, Germany (2016); Museum Brandhorst, Munich, Germany (2015); and Gwangju Biennial, South Korea (2014).
This event is part of the public programme for Liverpool Biennial 2018, which includes a series of talks by leading thinkers and artists in response to the question Beautiful world, where are you?