Art of the State:
Tate Liverpool.

Art There's not much more that I can add to the last time I visited Tate Liverpool as part of one of these grand projects. In 2013 I suggested that Tate Liverpool saved my life and there's not much to add to that in the six years since, other than to an extent it saved me again.  What I didn't mention then (due to the blog rules) was that at around that time, a company called Morris Hargreaves McIntyre employed me as a market researcher, which amounted to stopping people as they left the building and asking them what they thought.  The number of shifts per month were variable, but quite often they got me over a few financial bumps although it did mean that whenever I attended a press day there, the resulting review would be more diplomatic, shall we say, than perhaps they might be.  Eventually, I began following Thumper's philosophy and just wrote about those exhibitions that genuinely engaged me.

Access to Collection.

During the winter months, Tate Liverpool is open Monday to Sunday 10.00–17.00, extended to 18.00 during over the summer.  But the gallery as such does not have a permanent collection, its contents a mix of loans for the paid exhibitions and items from the Tate's larger archive in the form of Constellations and In Focus displays, both of which rotate their topics on an annual basis if not longer.  The Art UK website lists four paintings as being in this location which is an error.  Perhaps you could say that it has a permanently temporary collection, a way for people in the North West to enjoy items which would otherwise be in storage or on display in London.  It's worth noting that in the past I've privately been pretty scathing about the level of work which has made its way up here, but at the moment there's an astonishingly good selection on display.

Collection Spotlight.

The current "in focus" exhibition is considers Op Art, a movement which unsurprisingly sprang from the sixties given that the proponents, as the Tate website describes, "combined lines, geometric shapes and eye popping colour to create artworks that fool the eye. Images could be subtle or disorientating, giving the illusion of movement".  In many ways this exemplified by Jesus Rafael Soto's Twelve Blacks and Four Silvereds (1965) in which dozens of thin vertical parallel lines are broken by a series of black squares floating above the surface which cause the said lines to "move" when the viewer shifts their weight forth and back.  This is an interactive display, the viewer being coaxed into participating in each piece even though for the most part they're two or minimally three dimensional objects which we're not allowed to touch.

Unifying the exhibition is Jim Lambie's Zobop, an installation with a 1999 insep date which has been recreated in the gallery space.  Perhaps I'm being obtuse in selecting this as my favourite piece because it won't exist in this form once the exhibition closes, but it is an excellent example of how an art collection doesn't just contain objects but also ideas or at least the prerequisites necessary for the recreation of a work.  It's listed on Tate's website as "presented by Tate Members in 2006" which presumably means that when it's constructed by the artist or someone else, unless its inside a Tate building its essentially "on loan" even though it's contents are a series of coloured lines spread across a floor.  The record for Zobop contains images of an instance of Lambie's effort on the floor of Tate Britain, a much larger space than at the Albert Dock.

The work is the most striking part of the space, filling two of the three display room on the second floor.  Lambie pleads the 5th on the meaning of the work, which he's recreated in black and white and materials other than the 3M tape which adorns the Tate Liverpool floors.  The lines twist and turn around the corners of the place like Tron cycles or a manic game of Snake, frame within frame within frame.  I spent a few minutes following a green line around as it shifted between corners and over concentric ovals which from a distance look like curved slices, an optical illusion often exploited by chalk street artists.  What I'd really like to know is how this is held within Tate's vaults.  Is it a patent-like statement of intent wrapped around to reels of tape?  Photographs of its various installations across the years? 

Tetris Snake.

Games  Double trouble. Play Tetris one one side, Snake on the other, with the same controls.  Solid.

Touched by an Audiobook.

Audio One of my favourite stories from the Matt Smith era of Doctor Who is the novel Touched by an Angel by Jonathan Morris. As you'll remember from the review, my experience of the book was incredibly profound. I cried a lot. Much of that had to do with the prose, but it was also because of the strength of the reading because I was listening the actress Claire Corbett read his words as an audiobook. As I said at the time, "I wasn’t prepared for quite how sympathetically she’d bring an entire novel to audio, unafraid to turn the prose into a story told, rather than the rather neutral reading sometimes offered by others", which on reflection rather undervalued her contribution to the experience. Even after all these years I can still feel the tone of her voice as she described the darker moments in the story.

The Guardian has a lengthy piece by Tom Dowling about the process of making audiobooks and the actors and producers within the craft.  Claire Corbett is amongst them, one of the most prolific having leant her voice to over two hundred books.  But I really hadn't considered the emotional stress the readers experience due to the short timescales, having to plough through the text in single takes for as long as possible, skipping back and forth between different voices for the various characters.  But also the fears of producers that in preparation they've failed to notice something important like the revelation that the first person narrator is supposed to be Irish many hours into the process.  It's a fascinating insight and has just made me want to listen to more books (assuming I can fit them in between all the podcasts we're supposed to keep up with).