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U-Ram Choe, Opertus Lunula Umbra, 2008. Installation view at FACT.

Liverpool Biennial 2008: Made up

Celebrating 10 years of commissioning ambitious and challenging new work by leading international artists, the fifth edition of Liverpool Biennial’s International exhibition was an exploration of the power of the artistic imagination.

MADE UP saw imagination (called ‘invention’ in the 18th century) as the dynamo of art. At the heart of the exhibition’s broad ranging exploration of ‘making things up’ (which included utopias and dystopias, narrative fiction, fantasy, myths, lies, prophesies, subversion and spectacle) was the emotional charge which powered the artistic imagination. Whether mischievous, constructive or iconoclastic, MADE UP was about art’s capacity to transport us, to suspend disbelief and generate alternative realities.

The public realm projects continued to be a defining feature of Liverpool Biennial International exhibition, with over half of the 30-40 commissions situated in the public realm. MADE UP outside the gallery allowed fiction to rub up against the real, inviting artists to carve out space for the imagination in the everyday, whether in imaginary models made manifest as real examples, or playful re-workings of the real.

Curated collaboratively by a team drawn from partner galleries and the Biennial under the artistic directorship of Lewis Biggs, MADE UP was explored in a series of themed inflections presented across multiple sites, in galleries and public spaces throughout the city. For us, MADE UP focused on the power of the mind to make up meaning when faced with complete abstraction and extreme sensory deprivation.

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