Your Visitor Guide to Liverpool Biennial 2018

Posted on 28 August 2018 by Liverpool Biennial

Visitors with Haegue Yang’s ongoing series The Intermediates at Tate Liverpool, Liverpool Biennial 2018. Photo: Mark McNulty

Visitors with Haegue Yang’s ongoing series The Intermediates at Tate Liverpool, Liverpool Biennial 2018. Photo: Mark McNulty

Liverpool Biennial 2018 runs from 14 July – 28 October with free exhibitions, performances, talks, tours, screenings and family activities taking place across the city. Here’s everything you need to know to get the most out of your visit!

Who, what, where?

Liverpool Biennial is the UK’s largest festival of contemporary art. This year the city-wide exhibition features work by over 40 international artists spread across over 15 locations. Beautiful world, where are you? the 10th edition invites artists and audiences to reflect on a world of social, political and economic turmoil.

Free exhibitions and events unfold across the city, from the world-famous waterfront to stunning city centre venues locations and even a garden. Another strand of the Biennial, Worlds within worlds, explores the rich histories and stories evoked by objects and artefacts from the city’s civic collections and architecture. Alongside this, you can enjoy film screenings, performances, exhibition tours and even a spa treatment!

Holly Hendry, Cenotaph, 2018. Installation view at Exchange Flags, Liverpool Biennial 2018. Photo: Mark McNulty

Also showing as part of the Biennial is John Moores Painting Prize 2018, showcasing the best in contemporary British painting; Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2018, presenting some of the most dynamic work being made by emerging artists; and This is Shanghai, celebrating the relationship between Liverpool and its twin city in China. Finally, the Biennial fringe returns with over 250 new works, including five festival commissions and more than 100 individual events.

Before you visit

With so much to see and do, we recommend taking two to three days to experience the festival fully. Here are some useful tools to help you plan your trip. All of our venues are open Tuesday – Sunday with some also open on Mondays.

Plan your route – Explore our many exhibition sites in the city, use the map to make your own route and find out what events are happening on the day of your visit. You can also browse through our festival guide online and download the app to hear fascinating and easily digestible chunks of commentary on most exhibition sites given by curators and a few of the artists!

Joseph Grigely, Songs without Words, 2018. Exhibition view at Victoria Gallery & Museum, Liverpool Biennial 2018. Photo: Mark McNulty

Accommodation – If you are planning to stay overnight, check out Hope Street Hotel, The Nadler, Pullman Liverpool, Titanic Hotel, Hotel Indigo and Aparthotel Adagio Liverpool City Centre who are all offering special rates for Liverpool Biennial 2018 visitors.

Travel – Liverpool John Lennon Airport is only nine miles from the city centre and offers over 70 inbound UK and European routes. The mainline train station, Liverpool Lime Street, is ideally located in the heart of the city centre. Virgin Trains offers a direct high-speed service from the centre of London, which takes just over two hours.

When you are here

We recommend checking individual venues’ opening times before your visit using our Locations page. Entrance to all exhibitions is free and you can pick up your festival guide from the train station, airport or at all exhibition venues, as well as at numerous cafes, galleries and tourism hotspots throughout the city.

On the waterfront – starting at Liverpool’s famous Royal Albert Dock, you will find Tate Liverpool, where there are several international artists presenting new and existing works. A 5-minute walk away from here is Open Eye Gallery, showing two artists exploring the colonial legacies of their home countries of Pakistan and Nigeria, and RIBA North, where you will find Mae-ling Lokko’s new large-scale commission grown from agro-waste fed mycelium (mushrooms).

In the city centre – By Liverpool’s Town Hall, in the historic Exchange Flags, is Holly Hendry’s monumental installation Cenotaph. A short walk further into the centre and you will find Bluecoat, which is home to several artists whose work spans painting, sculpture and video. Nearby, in the Playhouse theatre, a number of artists are displaying work across the Grade II listed building’s theatre, stage, bars and rehearsal rooms. A 2-minute walk from here will take you to St George’s Hall, which also hosts several artists in its Neoclassical interior. Next door is the Walker Art Gallery, home to the John Moores Painting Prize, as well as paintings and collections which are being highlighted as part of Worlds within worlds, along with the World Museum and Liverpool Central Library. Now, head to FACT to see the work of legendary French New Wave filmmaker Agnès Varda.

Silke Otto-Knapp, A series of images following one from the other Eine aufeinander folgende Reihe von Bildern, 2018. Installation view at Bluecoat, Liverpool Biennial 2018. Photo: Thierry Bal

Visitors with sculptures by Ryan Gander with Jamie Clark, Phoebe Edwards, Tianna Mehta, Maisie Williams and Joshua Yates, From five minds of great vision (The Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King disassembled and reassembled to conjure resting places in the public realm), 2018. Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral, Liverpool Biennial 2018. Photo: Mark McNulty

Just a 10 minute walk – Take a stroll outside the hustle and bustle of the city centre, and you will find Ryan Gander’s new public artwork for the city, created in collaboration with five local schoolchildren and inspired by its site: Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral. On the way, make sure you stop by LJMU's Exhibition Research Lab to take a look at Paul Elliman's installation. Across the road is the stunning Victoria Gallery & Museum, which hosts artworks by a number of artists across several floors. Head south to reach Blackburne House, where you can experience Taus Makhacheva’s ASMR art spa and Rehana Zaman’s new film, before reaching the Oratory which has a new installation by Mathias Poledna. From here, go to Great George Street to see The List.

Further afield – In Liverpool’s north docks, a colourful new mosaic by Paulina Olowska is displayed on the side of the Invisible Wind Factory. Grab a bus or taxi to visit Mohamed Bourouissa’s Resilience Garden in Toxteth, created with the local community, on Saturdays and get involved with gardening. We also have an online artwork by Morehshin Allahyari, which you can view here.

Mohamed Bourouissa, Resilience Garden, 2018. Installation view at Granby Street, Liverpool Biennial 2018. Photo: Mark McNulty

Liverpool Biennial at 20 – Did you know that this year Liverpool Biennial celebrates 20 years of presenting international art in the Liverpool City Region? In that time, we have commissioned over 300 new artworks and presented more than 450 artists from around the world.

To mark not only our anniversary but also 10 years since Liverpool was European Capital of Culture, we are reactivating the extraordinary Joyful Trees by Diller Scofidio + Renfro. Alongside this, you can still find many artworks by past-Biennial artists all over the city. Remember to take a photo and share on your social media using #artineverydaylife.

Grab a bite to eat – You will find great places to eat and drink throughout your visit. Check out Biennial partners Chaophraya, Fazenda Bar and Grill, Il Forno, Maray, Wahaca, A Tavola and Royal Institution. Information on discounts for Biennial visitors can be found here. You can also visit the Independent Liverpool website for more great recommendations on where to go and make the most of our local bars, cafes, restaurants and independent businesses.

Keep in touch – If you have any questions throughout the day, don’t hesitate to tweet us @Biennial, call our visitor number on +44 (0)300 234 0022 or speak to our team in any of the exhibition locations. Let us know how your trip is going by sharing your photos and experiences on TwitterFacebook and Instagram using #LB2018

After your visit

Watch, read or shop – Head to our blog to read interviews with several of this year's artists, including Dale Harding, Mae-ling Lokko, Reetu Sattar and more, as they reveal the thinking and inspiration behind their works. You can also watch our video channel to discover more. Have a browse through our online shop to purchase one of our incredible limited editions by Biennial artists. Get your copy of the Liverpool Biennial 2018 book, featuring contributions by artists, curators and writers responding to this year’s theme. And to top it all off, you can also get your hands on an amazing Beautiful world, where are you? tote bag and t-shirt.

We hope you enjoy your visit!