Sonia Gomes and Linder participating in Liverpool Biennial, Liverpool, UK
Sonia Gomes’s work binds together cultural movements and traditions that are intrinsically linked to the affirmation of memory, identity and the transformative power of creation in situations of vulnerability and invisibility. Through the use of fabric, thread, found and gifted objects, her multi-dimensional, sometimes biomorphic sculptures and structures stand as insistent placeholders for the absent or unseen body. These gestural inquiries refer to the body itself, as a way to decolonize the past and reclaim the present to reconstitute and celebrate both the self and her Black heritage.
At the Liverpool Cotton Exchange Building, Gomes will present four fabric sculptures constructed using only materials that have been handed to her by others—taking on errant leftovers and combining them to create sites of intense encounter and entanglement. Mainly consisting of second-hand clothing and wires, Gomes’s transformation of disowned and unwanted materials gives them a new significance and life. The sculptures metaphorically bear the memories of the materials’ original owners, tying together their collective consciousness to create a knotty and guttural form. Gomes trusts that every material is imbued with latency of life, imagining her sculptures as bodies that absorb and retell the multiple memories of the “Other.”
Linder is internationally renowned for her radical feminism. She uses photography, photomontage and performance to critique past and contemporary gender roles, specifically the representation of women. Fashion, music and performance are important features in her work, often referencing her background in the 1970s punk and post-punk scenes. As part of her investigations into women’s history, Linder researches archives and develops displays championing underrepresented voices.
On the occasion of the Liverpool Biennial, Linder will present a series of photomontage work at Tate Liverpool. Drawing on feminist critiques around the commodification of the female body, Linder’s photomontage works challenge contemporary and historical depictions of women in the public eye by combining everyday images from domestic or fashion magazines with pornographic imagery and other archival materials. Marked by her interest in spiritualism and the occult, Linder’s more recent works respond to the paintings of the late British artist and occultist Ithell Colquhuon (1906-1988), whose works are presented adjacent to Linder’s compositions. Linder will also present a new large-scale street-level billboard commission within Liverpool ONE titled Bower of Bliss (2021).
About the Liverpool Biennial
Founded in 1998, Liverpool Biennial is the UK’s largest festival of contemporary visual art. Taking over unexpected and public spaces, historic sites and art galleries, the Biennial has been transforming the city through art for over two decades. Since its inception, Liverpool Biennial has commissioned over 340 new artworks and presented work by over 480 renowned artists from around the world. The 11th edition, The Stomach and the Port, explores notions of the body and ways of connecting with the world through contributions from 50 international artists and two collectives. A dynamic program of free exhibitions, performances, screenings and fringe events unfolds over the 12 weeks, shining a light on the city’s vibrant cultural scene.
The Stomach and the Port will open its outdoor and virtual chapter on March 20, 2021, including a new series of outdoor sculpture, sonic and digital commissions by 9 artists, alongside the new Biennial Online Portal. To align with government guidelines, the indoor chapter will launch in late spring with the full festival of exhibitions and events hosted by key venues throughout Liverpool.