Press Release

Moyra Davey

Press release announcing Moyra Davey's brand new commission for Tate Liverpool in summer 2013

Tate Liverpool
8 June – 6 October 2013
Free admission

Photographer, filmmaker and writer Moyra Davey (born 1958) will unveil a brand new commission for Tate Liverpool this summer. The exhibition brings together works specially created following the artist’s recent visit to Liverpool which will be presented alongside a series of never before seen works. Moyra Davey forms part of the parallel programme for LOOK/13, one of the UK’s leading international photography festivals.

For this exhibition, Davey will present works created using photographs she has taken in Liverpool and Manchester. They refer to narratives both personal and drawn from literature and theory, creating the sense of a fractured voyage or monologue. As is usual in her practice, these works will be individually folded and mailed back to the city: the creases, tape and mailing stamps that mark each photograph will provide a unique physical trace of its journey.

Davey will also present a new version of her celebrated Copperhead series. Created in the context of the global economic crisis this series focuses on the most devalued denomination of US currency, the one-cent coin, and reflects on the psychology of money and the varieties of decay brought about by the passage of time. The Copperhead series consists of one hundred close-up photographs of the profile of Abraham Lincoln engraved onto United States pennies. In an age of spectacle and image gratification, Davey’s unrushed attention proposes a slowing down and a re-evaluation on the all too fleeting beauty of the everyday. Davey will also present objects and artworks that correspond with her archival approach, expanding on her thinking.

Since emerging in the 1990s, Davey has developed an acclaimed body of work, deploying seemingly modest artistic strategies to engage with complex themes. In stark contrast to the spectacle of large-scale digitally enhanced photography, Davey’s practice is closely aligned with a history of photography based on intimacy and accident. Through her seemingly casually-taken photographs of the spines of vinyl records, empty bottles illuminated by light, or piles of books heaped upon a shelf, the artist offers an unrushed consideration of the world drawing our attention to these familiar objects and revealing their quiet beauty and sense of melancholy. Dust also provides a recurring focus in Davey’s work, providing a metaphor for the passage of time and creative possibility: for example the act of taking a book from a shelf and blowing dust from its cover suggests the possible rediscovery and regeneration of its contents.

Moyra Davey graduated from Concordia University, Montreal in 1982 before receiving an MFA from the University of California, San Diego. Her work can be found in major collections including The Guggenheim, New York. She has recently staged solo exhibitions at The Fogg Art Museum Harvard University, Murray Guy, New York and greengrassi in London. In June 2014 Camden Arts Centre in London will present Davey’s first large-scale survey show in the United Kingdom.

In addition to Moyra Davey, Tate Liverpool will also present a major new Tate collection acquisition by Barbara Kruger (born 1945) as part of LOOK/13 international photography festival. Kruger’s 1991/2012 work Who Owns What will form an important part of Tate Liverpool’s new collection displays DLA Piper Series: Constellations. The work combines photography and text to interrogate doubt, control, power, affection, contempt, owning, not owning, buying and selling. DLA Piper Series: Constellations explores the impact of major works from the Tate collection on art history by placing them at the heart of nine ‘constellations’ of artworks, creating narratives between the works. The constellation centering around Kruger’s Who Owns What will include film, photographic and sculptural works by Jack Goldstein, Louise Lawler, Robert Longo, Henrik Olesen, Mark Leckey and John Smith.

Moyra Davey is curated by Darren Pih, Exhibitions and Displays Curator, Tate Liverpool.

Editor notes

LOOK/13: Liverpool International Photography Festival

Who do you think you are? LOOK/13 asks what happens when we turn the camera on ourselves and others, to create images of identity, subjectivity and the self. The festival’s much anticipated second edition launches on Liverpool’s Light Night, 17 May 2013. Taking place in venues across the city, it presents an eclectic mix of exhibitions and events, featuring historical and contemporary work by photographers from Liverpool, the UK and beyond. The festival launches on 17 May 2013 with a long opening weekend 16–19 May 2013. For further information please visit