Tate Liverpool Exhibition

Emotional Ties

David Hockney, ‘My Parents’ 1977
David Hockney, My Parents 1977. Tate. © David Hockney
David Hockney, ‘My Parents’ 1977
David Hockney
My Parents 1977
© David Hockney

This display from the Tate Collection examines how the relationships between families, friends and lovers have provided fertile ground for artists throughout modern and contemporary art. The relationships we have with our family and friends are fundamental to the development of our lives and sense of worth. What lies at the heart of these relationships, how we co-exist with others, what motivates the 'emotional ties' that we make, is addressed in a variety of ways by the artists in this display.

It is often what remains unsaid within a relationship that becomes potential subject matter for an artist. Works of art can trigger unresolved feelings in the viewer which can connect to those of the artist. This display allows us to consider the nature of emotional ties and how such ties can be the impetus for the creative process itself.

The special status and quality of a relationship is affirmed through its depiction in a work of art. The history of portraiture attests to this, from images of the Madonna and Child to the tradition of the commemorative portrait. Contemporary images of family and friends refer to this tradition, often inverting and playing with it to reveal that although the representation of relationships is fluid and progressive, the subject matter remains unchanged.

This exhibition covers all aspects of relationships from family and friends to lovers and partners.

Tate Liverpool

Royal Albert Dock Liverpool
Liverpool L3 4BB
Plan your visit


17 March 2001 – 24 February 2002

Find out more