REVIEW: DLA Piper Series: Constellations | Tate Liverpool | 03.08.15 – Summer 2016

Richard Hamilton
Image: Richard Hamilton, Towards a definitive statement on the coming trends in menswear and accessories (a) Together let us explore the stars 1962. © The estate of Richard Hamilton

With a new display featuring more than 180 artworks, the DLA Piper Series: Constellations exhibition at the Tate Liverpool is more expansive and diverse than ever before. Our resident reviewer Daniel. M. Atley went along to take a look at the new additions to the series.

The thing I really like about the Tate Liverpool is that it’s absolutely insane! The heady mix of pieces the gallery gathers together are full of artists that I’ve never even heard of, and some of the exhibitions are so “out there” a lot of the time it leaves me feeling dazed and befuddled as to the nature of the word ‘Art’. Sure, you could go and visit the Walker Art Gallery just up the road and see all the classical pieces your eyes could desire – from Monet to Bosch and far beyond – but it doesn’t have that bonkers factor that makes the Tate so fun and unique.

This brings us to the new additions which the Tate has procured for its long running DLA Piper series: Constellations. As you would expect there’s plenty here for all lovers of the avant-garde and the surreal, as well as more contemporary works from relatively well-known artists such as Marcel Duchamp, Sir Peter Blake and Eduardo Paolozzi (whose etchings and lithographic works are well worth a gander).

As usual the video installations on display here are definitely some of the more entertaining highlights of the exhibition. I was particularly drawn in by the Pierre Huyghe work ‘One Million Kingdoms 2001’, which at first glance makes you ask the question, ‘What if they remade Tron using the Gorillaz?’ However the piece is a lot less flippant than that would suggest, and is actually quite beautifully created and well worth watching for its duration. Also on display is ‘Painter’ by the artist Paul McCarthy. Although it’s a bit lengthy, it is also funny, strange, wonderful and surreal. Again this is well worth watching for its duration, but for very different reasons to the aforementioned work (think Reeves and Mortimer does Bo Selecta but with art!).

All economic and social issues are catered for within this exhibition, showcasing pieces dedicated to the glamour and countercultural upheavals of the 1960’s and the unique outlooks of artists who’ve taken inspiration from such diverse fields as the space race and even pro American wrestling. The fact that there is so much art to sample and appreciate in this exhibition, even the most casual visitor to the gallery will come away with broadened horizons and a newfound respect for the artists on display (and if not, well hey that’s art!).

The new additions to the Constellations exhibition are married brilliantly with the existing pieces already on show on the first floor from the likes of Cezanne, Man Ray, Picasso and many others (my favourite has to be Paul Nash’s brilliant ‘Harbour and Room’, a must see!) All in all the new additions elevate Constellations monumentally and make it a must visit for any discerning fan of art and culture in general.

The exhibition goes on right through to summer next year, so you’ve got plenty of time yet. If you get the opportunity it’s well worth popping down to Tate on The Albert Dock for a quick shufty through the works of many great and inspirational artists, or at the very least a nice cup of tea in Cafe Tate.

Written by Daniel. M. Atley


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