Contemporary Urban CentreCity States

Installation view, Media Landscape – Zone East, 2010

The Nordic Pavillion, 2010

Future Movements - Jerusalem, 2010

City Without Walls – Vilnius, 2010

Installation view, Media Landscape – Zone East, 2010

18 September - 28 November 2010

City States was a new collaboration between Novas Scarman Contemporary Urban Centre Liverpool and Liverpool Biennial for the 2010 Biennial festival. The Grade II-listed warehouse was converted to be a vibrant cultural and community centre at the heart of the Baltic Triangle, including a restaurant, café, bar, cinema, conference facilities and performance and gallery space.

The building provided the ideal context in which to show contemporary art from cities around the world, and introduce the artists, organising bodies and audiences to the fabulous opportunities provided by the Centre to local people.

City States was an exhibition of art focused on life in cities around the world. The greatest challenges faced by humanity are in the cities, where the majority of the population now lives. City-to-city learning is the quickest and most effective way of addressing these challenges.

City States consisted of a cluster of six international exhibitions, initiated and wholly supported by embassies, foreign governments, international agencies or galleries, that explored the cultural dynamics between cities and states.

Media Landscape – Zone East, one of the projects forming part of City States, features a group of artists working internationally in locations from Seoul, Tokyo, Beijing, Taipei and Singapore to New York, Düsseldorf and London. Seoul, representing South Korea, invited ten Korean artists and nominated 12 other artists, from Japan, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Indonesia and Singapore, to take part in the project.

The contributing artists for the exhibition Media Landscape – Zone East: CHUN Kyungwoo (Korea), FONG Silas (Hong Kong), HO Tzu Nyen (Singapore), HU Xiaoyuan (China), IZUMI Taro (Japan), JUNG Yumi (Korea), KIM Kira (Korea), KIM Young Eun (Korea), KOO Jeong A (Korea), KUSWIDANANTO Augustomis a.k.a JOMPET (Indonesia), MA Qiusha (China), MIOON (Korea), OH Min (Korea), PARK Junebum, (Korea), SAKAKIBARA Sumito(Japan), SHIN Kiwoun (Korea), TAGUCHI Yukihiro (Japan), WU Chi-Tsung (Taiwan), YI Hyunchul (Korea) and ZHAO Yao (China).

The eight artists chosen for NICE’s Nordic Pavilion find inspiration from urban landscapes, social environments, identities, rhythms in movement and fetishised commodities. These imaginative geographies help us to look at our own ritualised ways of living, everyday experiences of the city’s environment, and the materials with which we identify ourselves.

Contributing artists included: Knut Åsdam (Norway), SÀ¸ren Thilo Funder (Denmark), Hrafnhildur Arnardottir AKA ‘Shoplifter’ (Iceland), Hrafnkell Sigurdsson (Iceland), Marianna MÀ¸rkÀ¸re and RannvÀ¡ KÀ¡radÀttir (Faroe Islands), Kalle Brolin (Sweden) and Johanna Lecklin (Finland). The Nordic Pavilion was curated by Claudia Lastra in collaboration with NICE (Nordic Intercultural Creative Events)

Future Movements - Jerusalem featured artworks that draw inspiration from the city of Jerusalem and its changing urban structure. The exhibition took the viewer to places outside the spiritual and holy Old City to urban locations that, despite their importance in shaping the contemporary urban city, have rarely been referenced or addressed in literature and visual art. 14 artists have been invited: Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou Rahme (Palestine), Jawad Al Malhi (Palestine), Sarah Beddington (UK), Anna Boggon (UK), CAMP Group (India), Raouf Haj Yihya (Palestine), Alexandra Handal (Palestine/UK), Shuruq Harb (Palestine), Maj Hasager (Denmark), Jakob Jakobsen (Denmark), Bouchra Khalili (Morocco/ France), Larissa Sansour (Palestine/ Denmark) and Oraib Toukan (Jordan). 

The exhibition unravelled Jerusalem as an urban structure in all its physical, social, economic and political complexity, demonstrating how urban space is divided, conquered, abandoned and occupied again. Supported by the Barjeel Art Foundation, the Danish Arts Council, Foundation for Arts Initiative, Zina Jardaneh, the Palestinian Ministry of Culture and Visiting Arts. Future Movements is curated by Samar Martha and organised by ArtSchool Palestine in cooperation with Al Hoash Gallery, Jerusalem, and Visiting Arts.

Three Moments – The Caribbean Stuart Hall, in his essay Modernity and Its Others: Three ‘Moments’ In The Post-war History of the Black Diaspora Arts revisits modernity through three historical art movements from the perspective of the Diaspora. This discourse stands as the theme of this pavilion where three moments will become symbolised by three Caribbean islands: the Bahamas, Martinique and Barbados. 

The featured artists – Ewan Atkinson, Ishi Butcher, Akyem Ramsay (from Barbados), Kendra Frorup, Heino Schmid, John Beadle, Lynn Parotti, Lavar Munroe and Blue Curry (from the Bahamas) and David Damoison, Christian Bertin and Jean-FranÀ§ois Boclé (from Martinique) – were selected on their ability to make work that responds to contemporary and historical global themes. For the first time artists from the Caribbean region are collectively making new work that responds to the city of Liverpool while maintaining a distinctive stance on what Stuart Hall might call a 21st-century Caribbean modernist aesthetic.

Three Moments is selected and curated by Dominique Brebion (Martinique), Alissandra Cummins (Barbados), Holly Parotti (Bahamas) and Allison Thompson (Barbados) in collaboration with the ICF

City Without Walls – Vilnius is an exhibition whose title draws on disparate sources: an Old Testament passage, a poem by W.H. Auden (1969) and Andre Malraux’s ‘museum without walls’. The exhibition’s allusions are used as a foil for the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius. If Lithuania resides at the geopolitical nexus between the eastern periphery of the European Union and Belarus, Russia and beyond, then Vilnius is its cosmopolitan epicentre, whose cultural openness and diversity makes it metaphorically a ‘city without walls’. 

City Without Walls was curated by Raul Zamudio and Laura Rutkute with the assistance of Augustina Matuseviciute, and organised by VARTAI gallery, Vilnius


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