Spring 2015 – End of 2016
Liverpool Biennial, 14-18 NOW WW1 Centenary Art Commissions and Tate Liverpool have co-commissioned one of the major figures of British pop art, Sir Peter Blake, to ‘dazzle’ a Mersey Ferry in partnership with Merseytravel and National Museums Liverpool.
This is the third in the series of Dazzle Ship commissions, following Induction Chromatique à Double Fréquence pour l’Edmund Gardner Ship / Liverpool. Paris 2014 by Carlos Cruz-Diez on the Liverpool Waterfront, and Tobias Rehberger’s Dazzle Ship on the River Thames in London. Sir Peter’s design entitled Everybody Razzle Dazzle will cover the Mersey Ferry Snowdrop, surrounding the passenger vessel with a distinctive pattern that can be seen for the next two years, as it continues its commuter service, River Explorer and Manchester Ship Canal Cruises; making this the first of the Dazzle Ship commissions to be a working vessel.
Peter Blake (b. 1932) is a leading figure in the development of British pop art and his work is synonymous with the use of imagery from modern culture, including comic books, consumer goods and advertisements. During his career he developed strong links with Liverpool and first visited the city during his National Service with the RAF (1951 – 53). His training required that he travel to Belfast, so he sailed by ferry from Liverpool’s iconic waterfront. Highly evocative of Sir Peter’s signature pop art style, the design is based on his use of and interest in colour, monochrome and shape.
Unlike other forms of camouflage, dazzle works not by concealing but by baffling the eye, making it difficult to estimate a target’s range, speed and direction. Artist Norman Wilkinson, credited with inventing the technique, explained that dazzle was intended primarily to mislead the enemy; each ship’s dazzle pattern, realised in monochrome and colour, was unique in order to avoid making classes of ships instantly recognisable to enemy U- boats and aircraft.
As well as being a moving artwork, visitors who board the Snowdrop can learn more about the history of dazzle and the role that the Mersey Ferries took in the First World War in a display developed by curators from National Museums Liverpool and Tate Liverpool. An integrated education programme underpins the project and includes a digital resource for schools, online commissions by artists and writers, with opportunities for groups and individuals to visit and participate in the project. Everybody Razzle Dazzle and the accompanying display and education programme have been funded through Arts Council England’s Exceptional Awards, which aims to fund projects that deliver great art for everyone.
Sally Tallant, Director of Liverpool Biennial, said: ‘It is an honour to commission Sir Peter Blake to revisit the practice of ‘dazzle camouflage’ and to invite him to paint the Snowdrop - an iconic Mersey Ferry. This is the third vessel that we have co-commissioned with our partners and it is wonderful that we are able to undertake this ambitious project with the support of the Exceptional Awards programme from Arts Council England. Millions of people will have the opportunity to see and engage with the artwork and we are delighted to be able to bring this exciting project to Liverpool.’
Jenny Waldman, Director 14-18 NOW said, ‘14-18 NOW congratulates Peter Blake on this wonderful artwork, which follows the success of the ‘dazzled’ Edmund Gardner in Liverpool and HMS President (1918) in London. Snowdrop offers a completely new way for visitors to experience a dazzle ship and learn more about the rich maritime history of Liverpool and the Mersey Ferries during the First World War. We are grateful for the support of Bloomberg Philanthropies.’
Everybody Razzle Dazzle 2015 is co-commissioned by Liverpool Biennial, 14-18 NOW WW1 Centenary Art Commissions and Tate Liverpool in partnership with Merseytravel, who own and operate Mersey Ferries, and National Museums Liverpool (Merseyside Maritime Museum). Supported by Arts Council England, National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund and Department for Culture Media and Sport.
Notes to Editor
For further information, interviews and images please contact: Tate Liverpool Press Office: 0151 702 7444/5, firstname.lastname@example.org
Additional information can also be found at www.biennial.com/dazzleferry
Sir Peter Blake Biography
Peter Blake was born in 1932 in Dartford, Kent. He studied at Gravesend School of Art before earning a place at the prestigious Royal College of Art London in 1956. His love of art flourished as he built up a portfolio of work through extensive travels across Europe and beyond. Inspiration was drawn from his surroundings and he began to produce collages incorporating iconic cultural figures. Alongside these, Blake also worked with found objects such as photographs, cigarette packets and matchboxes. The concept of found art continues to excite Blake, as does the notion of finding beauty within everyday objects.
In 1983 Peter Blake became a CBE and in 2002 received a knighthood for his services to art.
Sir Peter Blake also has a strong relationship with Liverpool that extends beyond his design of The Beatles’s album, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band in 1967. In 1961 Sir Peter won the John Moores Painting Prize Junior section for his work Self Portrait with Badges. In 2007, Tate Liverpool hosted Peter Blake: A Retrospective, the largest since an exhibition at the Tate Gallery in 1983. He also created an updated version of the iconic Sgt. Pepper’s album cover with famous figures from Liverpool history as part of the successful bid for Liverpool to become European Capital of Culture 2008. Sir Peter Blake became patron of the John Moores Painting Prize in 2011.
Sir Peter Blake said: ‘I’ve had a long association with Liverpool over the years and I’m honoured and excited to be asked to design a dazzle image for the iconic Mersey Ferry.’
Liverpool Biennial is the UK Biennial of Contemporary Art. The Biennial is underpinned by a year round programme of research, education, residencies and commissions.
Founded in 1999 Liverpool Biennial has commissioned 266 new artworks from 424 artists around the world, including 34 collaborative neighbourhood projects in the city. During the last 10 years Liverpool Biennial has had an economic impact of £119.6million.
14-18 NOW WW1 Centenary Art Commissions
14-18 NOW WW1 Centenary Art Commissions is the official First World War Centenary Cultural Programme. In its first season, in summer 2014, it presented 31 co-commission works including the first two dazzle ships, the UK-wide Letter To An Unknown Soldier and August 4th LIGHTS OUT, in which 16.7 million people participated.
14-18 NOW is an independent programme hosted within Imperial War Museums and is a member of the First World War Centenary Partnership.
The First World War Centenary Partnership was established by IWM (Imperial War Museums) in 2010 and to date has over 2,500 members from across 45 countries. The Partnership is presenting a collective programme of activities and events to mark the centenary, developed at grass roots levels. This diverse and far-reaching programme has been developed to reflect how people want to remember, commemorate and debate the conflict in their own communities, in a way that is meaningful for them. 1914.org is the official website for the First World War Centenary Partnership. Throughout the centenary new events and activities will be added each week to the events calendar, produced in partnership with Culture 24.
Tate Liverpool is the home of the national collection of modern art in the north and has attracted over 15.5 million visitors since opening in 1988. The gallery hosts a diverse and lively special exhibition and events programme, and displays work from the national collection free of charge.
Francesco Manacorda, Artistic Director, Tate Liverpool said, ‘We’re delighted to work collaboratively with all our partners to bring this incredible commission to Liverpool. Not only does Sir Peter’s design give visitors the opportunity to discover more about the history of dazzle but will also serve as an amazing piece of visual art.’
Arts Council England
Arts Council England champions, develops and invests in artistic and cultural experiences that enrich people’s lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to digital art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2010 and 2015, we will invest £1.9 billion of public money from government and an estimated £1.1 billion from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country.
Arts Council England announced the Exceptional awards programme in July 2013. The award to Liverpool Biennial is one of just a handful of strategic investments that will be made through the course of this programme, which culminates in March 2015. www.artscouncil.org.uk
Sarah Maxfield, Area Director North, Arts Council England, said: ‘The Exceptional Awards programme provides us with a unique opportunity to recognise truly remarkable ideas of national, or even international, importance; rewarding innovation and ambition in arts and culture. I’m delighted that the Arts Council is able to support Everybody Razzle Dazzle, which is set to engage and inspire audiences as they travel aboard the ferry or as they take part in the associated education programme.’
National Museums Liverpool
National Museums Liverpool comprises eight venues. Our collections are among the most important and varied in Europe and contain everything from Impressionist paintings and rare beetles to a lifejacket from the Titanic.
We attract more than 2.7m visitors every year. Our venues are the International Slavery Museum, Lady Lever Art Gallery, Merseyside Maritime Museum, Museum of Liverpool, Sudley House, Border Force National Museum, Walker Art Gallery and World Museum.
Merseyside Maritime Museum is situated at the Albert Dock. The museum will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Lusitania with a brand new exhibition. Lusitania: life, loss, legacy opens on 27 March 2015. Lusitania was torpedoed in one of the most horrific events of the First World War. www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/lusitania
Ian Murphy, Deputy Director of Merseyside Maritime Museum said: ‘The Mersey Ferries are a really important part of Liverpool’s maritime and transport history and we’re pleased to be involved in helping to highlight their involvement in the First World War. Our pilot ship Edmund Gardner was painted for the city’s first Dazzle Ship project and this is a great opportunity to be able to further explore Liverpool’s wartime story on board the ‘dazzled’ Snowdrop.’
Mersey Ferries is the number one paid for visitor attraction in Merseyside, with approximately 650,000 passenger journeys each year. The ferry is the best way to see and enjoy Liverpool’s iconic waterfront and UNESCO world heritage site.
The River Explorer Cruise is the core ferry product which lasts 50 minutes and departs from Liverpool Pier Head and docks at both Seacombe and Woodside, Wirral. The cruise includes a fascinating recorded commentary about the history of the ferries and the landmarks that can be seen during the cruise.
Mersey Ferries also operates seasonal cruises along the Manchester Ship Canal between Liverpool and Salford Quays. The cruise was recently ‘commended’ within the ‘Best Tourism Experience’ category at the Manchester Tourism Awards 2014.
Mersey Ferries is owned and operated by Merseytravel, the Executive body that provides professional, strategic and operational transport advice to the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority. It is also the delivery arm, making transport happen.
Cllr Liam Robinson, Chair of Merseytravel, which owns and operates the Mersey Ferries said: ‘We are proud to be supporting a project of local, regional and national significance.
‘The Snowdrop being transformed into a giant, moving art canvas will be bring a new dimension to its iconic trips across the Mersey and its cruises along the Manchester Ship Canal.
‘The Mersey Ferries are already the number one paid for attraction on Merseyside and we hope to encourage more people to take a trip as a result of this innovative project.
‘The on board exhibition should be a big draw. Not only will it explain the history of ‘dazzle ships’, but will give us the opportunity to showcase the important role of the Mersey Ferries during World War 1, including their daring Zeebrugge raid.’
4 August 2014 marked 100 years since the start of the First World War. In recognition of this significant milestone the Government is leading a four year commemorative programme of national ceremonial events, cultural and educational activity and community engagement
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport, DCMS, manages this cross government programme working with key delivery partners including Imperial War Museums, 14-18 NOW, Arts Council, Heritage Lottery Fund and English Heritage.
Snowdrop, the dazzled ferry, will provide an excellent opportunity for the local community and visitors alike to make a lasting, visual connection with Liverpool’s vibrant maritime history during the First World War.
Minister for The First World War Centenary, Helen Grant said: ‘I am delighted that this iconic Liverpool ferry will be transformed into a dazzle ship by legendary Peter Blake.
His brilliant artwork will illuminate the artistic ingenuity which existed 100 years ago in the face of war and give people the opportunity to learn more about the First World War and the role Liverpool’s ferries played.’
During World War One Cammell Laird completed work on nine battleships, 60 cruisers, 100 British and 95 United States destroyers, eight submarines, 123 armed merchant vessels and 107 merchant ships. The Cunard passenger liner Campania and the Isle of Man Steam Packet Co steamer Ben-My-Chree were also converted at Cammell Laird into the first seaplane carriers for the Royal Navy.
CEO John Syvret CBE said: ‘Cammell Laird is steeped in naval history and played a key role in the First World War. We feel honoured to help commemorate the occasion by ‘dazzling’ a Mersey Ferry after we successfully dazzled the Edmund Gardner last year. The projects provides a meaningful way for Cammell Laird to reflect on the significant contribution the company made to the country during the war years.
‘Our painters are also very pleased to be undertaking a design by Peter Blake who has such a connection with Merseyside through his Beatles work. We are further proud to support the Liverpool Biennial in its efforts to encourage visitors and investment to the region.’