Ritual Bodies

16 October 2004 - 28 November 2004

A singing gallery guard, poems written on apples, an unravelled knitted artwork and plaster dresses feature in Ritual Bodies exhibition, part of the Liverpool Biennial.

This series of four artists' interventions highlights Walker Art Gallery's collection in visual, cultural and political terms. The exhibition has been co-ordinated by Manchester artists Margaret Cahill and Jacqueline Wylie.

Heart Shape Pornography

Two decaying apples, one of them has words written on it

Phil Davenport writes poetry on apples - symbols of desire and corruption. The poems are created by cutting the shape of a heart through a pornographic book, isolating certain words. These are then hand-written on artificial apples. These gentle, fragmentary texts are sited near permanent collection works that contain apples, thus alluding to the act of looking.

Find out more about Heart Shape Pornography and Phil Davenport and email your own art/poetry response to him.

Shoddy Work

Close-up image of a woollen image

Jacqueline Wylie uses discarded raw material from woollen garments to examine the nature of what is collected by galleries, and explores what visitors are permitted to touch during the gallery visit. This 100-foot artwork is sited among Walker Art Gallery's Victorian paintings.


Photograph of three dresses

Margaret Cahill creates ethereal yet distorted figures, inspired by passive female sitters in formal 18th and 19th-century oil paintings. These ghostly, fragile plaster dresses step into the viewer's space to provide a physical encounter, exploring memory, childhood, sexuality and loss.

Act-To-Peptise (Spirited Musical Dramatis)

Outdoors photograph of a man in a security uniform carrying a long torch

Mike Chavez-Dawson becomes his alter ego, The Gallery Guard, 'on duty' at the Walker. This search for the perfect art experience through performance and intervention will result in the creation of a limited edition DVD.

Ann Bukantas, Walker Art Gallery's curator of fine art, says:

"The works in Ritual Bodies are the artists' responses to Walker Art Gallery and aspects of its collections. They are there to complement and work with them, to make people think about the historic works from different periods in the light of contemporary artists' responses to them".


Artists' Responses

Several artists have already made responses to Phil Davenport's piece, Heart Shape Pornography. You can see them here: