Paul Elliman lives and works in London. His work follows language through many of its social and technological guises, in which typography, human voice and bodily gestures emerge as part of a direct correspondence with other visible forms and sounds of the city.
2018 Biennial Year Find out more
Elliman is a visiting tutor for the MFA Voice Studies programme at the Sandberg Institute in Amsterdam.
For Liverpool Biennial 2018, Paul Elliman has worked with Sara De Bondt and Mark El-khatib on the graphic identity, using letter-like shapes and symbols gathered as part of a durational work – a ‘found font’ – that Elliman calls The Day Shapes. Pursuing the mechanisms of language as a mode of economic production, Elliman has spoken about how the origins of his work with object letters began in thoughts about the path of his father’s migration: from the Merseyside car industry (1962–1978) via a year in Detroit in 1979, to California’s Silicon Valley, where he worked at Apple as a production engineer from 1982–2005.
At Exhibition Research Lab, Elliman presents the Vauxhall Astra 2020, the forthcoming and newest model of a car available since 1979 when General Motors launched the Vauxhall/Opel Astra, now the only car produced at Ellesmere Port. The Astra 2020 is offered as a constellation of raw materials, half-a-dozen boulders and rock-like lumps of the car’s constituent parts at original scale, made of steel (iron ore), glass, plastic, aluminum, rubber and electrical components.
He has exhibited widely in venues such as the ICA, London, UK (2014); New Museum, New York, USA (2008); Tate Modern, London, UK (2001); and MoMA, New York, USA (2012) with recent solo exhibitions at KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin, Germany (2017); and La Salle de Bains, Lyon, France (2017).
Paul Elliman at Liverpool Biennial 2018
Vauxhall Astra 2020, 2018
Glass, steel, aluminium, rubber, plastic and electric components
Commissioned by Liverpool Biennial. Exhibited at LJMU’s Exhibition Research Lab.
The Day Shapes, 2018
Print on paper
Commissioned by Liverpool Biennial. Exhibited at Victoria Gallery & Museum.
Paul Elliman – Liverpool Biennial 2018
“As a young person in the late 70s, I could see shifts in the way art is made that parallel the path that my father took from the car industry to the computer industry.”
Inspired by the progression of post-war contemporary art and his father’s experience of working in the car manufacturing industry, Paul Elliman first developed his Found Font in the 1980s. This visual language, created from gathering letter-like objects and debris, has been used by Elliman with designers Sara de Bondt and Mark El-khatib to create the visual identity for Liverpool Biennial 2018. Watch as Elliman discusses this influence of art and industry on his practice and shares his thoughts on the title of this year’s festival: Beautiful world, where are you?
Liverpool Biennial 2018: Beautiful world, where are you? takes place from 14 July – 28 October across the city’s public spaces, galleries, museums and civic buildings.