Saturday, 18 September 2010

Biennial @ 52 Renshaw Street

The old Rapid buildings along Renshaw Street have been used for a variety of interesting purposes recently, but the Biennials residency in the space will take some beating.

The vast and warren-like space is cleverly spotted with art works, some of them good, some of them, frankly, extremely questionable. Unlike most vacant shops I've seen used as galleries, the space has not been white washed to death. Instead the curator, Lorenzo Fusi, seems to have made the decision to leave much of the remaining odds and ends of Rapid's decor intact. OutrĂ© patches of painting work, tiles and wallpaper offset the carefully organised art works. These remnants add a intriguing sense of exploring an abandoned civilisation - with bizarre interior design habits - to the visit. 

Although many of the art works are of dubious quality, there are some absolute gems. Saving the best till last, my highlights are located at the end of the long wander through the maze of interconnected rooms. N S Harsha's Sky Gazers blurs the lines of illustration/painting and installation, combining several simple and effective devices in a delightful manner. Go see it soon before visitors' dirty shoes and grubby fingers take their toll! 

In the next room, after you pass through Sky Gazers, uneasily rests Free Post Mersey Tunnels. Let's just say, you know an art work is good when it makes you feel panicky... I know it shouldn't matter, but I do like that fact that a female artist, Rosa Barb, has created such a muscular and mechanically evocative work. 

As one of my first Liverpool Biennial experiences, despite feeling sceptical about some of the works in the exhibition, I really enjoyed exploring what 52 Renshaw Street had to offer... even if that includes violent fez wearing goat sodomy. 

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