‘I’m trying to do something radically different in a beautiful comfortable way.’

Over the past decade, the borders between artistic techniques have become increasingly amorphous: some of the most pertinent ideas have emerged from the productive cross-pollination between different disciplines, genres, cultures and media. Los Angeles artist Jorge Pardo skilfully traverses the ambiguous territory between art, architecture and design to create installations that defy easy categorisation. He has created relaxing environments that include decorative artefacts and home furnishings designed or selected by himself, resulting in an art that is as enjoyable to look as it is to use.

In striving for a convergence of art, lifestyle and entertainment, Pardo liberally explores and indulges in the formal, stylistic and ideological aberrations of the recent past – a period of legendary bad taste and kitsch but also of bold, integrative utopian concepts. Pardo skilfully plays with art-historical orthodoxies and transcends popular stereotypes of abstract art and public sculpture through his infectious and engaging use of colour form and movement in space. In his sculptural works, Pardo redefines the conventional notion of ‘public sculpture’.

In order to encourage some debate and concern for the design of public spaces in the City, the International 02 exhibition promoted a number of newly commissioned temporary artworks for public sites, and one permanent one.

It is not easy to design street furniture that is fun and fit for use but also strong enough to stand up to extremely tough wear. For International 02 Jorge Pardo designed a new centrepiece for Wolstenholme Square, a quiet backwater by day but busy with club life at night. Still present in the space, this huge and colourful sculpture comes alive at night, like the square, by providing lighting. It also provides a permanent seat in the centre of the square where people can rest or talk. It is monumental in scale, but unlike a monument it does not refer to anything other than the present moment. Its sole purpose is to provide another means for people to enjoy their immediate experience of the square and the company they are in.

Penelope, 2002
Mixed media installation
Commissioned by The Liverpool Rope Walks Partnership
Exhibited at Wolstenholme Square