DINU LI, The Anatomy of Place
If like us, you’re getting a little bit frustrated with the academic-focused elitism in the art galleries in Liverpool (& everywhere else) then this one is for you.
I’ve recently discovered the hidden delights of Birkenhead’s art scene & before you close this tab - hear me out. Tucked away in the heart of Birkenhead’s iconic market is a contemporary art space making waves in the art world. It’s fast becoming our go-to & our respite from vapid white cube spaces. Convenience gallery is currently hosting an exhibition as part of the Look Photo Biennial, happening in galleries across the city ( you might've seen it at open eye ). Born in a market district of Hong Kong, Dinu Li draws energy from Birkenhead market to breathe life into his exhibition The Anatomy of Place. Spread across 3 units, Li seamlessly merges Birkenhead with China - blurring the boundaries between them and allowing the two worlds to overlap. It’s an oddly uncomfortable scenario, as though you’re walking through someone else's memories.
In unit 1, you draw back the market-style tarp to reveal children's tables and chairs gathered around a small projector showing Family Village - a place you can imagine children playing while their parents worked on the market stall. Stepping into unit 2 is like stepping into someone’s living room. Armchairs, a house plant, wall hanging, and rug are placed around a tv set, inviting you to settle in and watch the video Nation Family. This is the story of a 19y/o worker in a rubber plantation, told through the memories of people who knew him. & tbh, is the most captivating bit of film i’ve seen in a gallery in a long time. The final unit holds 3 installations as the exhibition is brought to a climax - a celebration of culture, ritual, and tradition. The videos, Ancestral Nation & Folk Songs are projected onto screens next to sculpture of a Beijing Opera singer’s dilemma (go see it for more info).
The names of each installation are enough to inform you about the content of the art at Convenience. But the FEELING of the exhibition cannot be written down. Because of the intimacy of the work, you’re allowed to peak inside a life, culture, and place that is not yours. Dinu Li traps the essence of his Chinese culture in little pockets of Birkenhead market and allows the background noise of shoppers and passers-by to become a part of the art, completing it.
I urge you all to go and discover this gem of a gallery and rediscover the power of community spaces!
You can find them HERE
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Wed - Sat
10am - 5pm
~ UNTIL 21st DECEMBER ~