Tate Liverpool, Liverpool, United Kingdom
From: 21 April 2012
Until: 2 September 2012
Innocence and Experience
10.00–17.00, every day
Despite the inclusion of some self-referential pieces such as Richard Hamilton’s Swingeing London 67 (1967–8), Marianne Faithful tells Phaidon that Innocence And Experience, her upcoming co-curated show at the Tate Liverpool isn’t just self-biographical. “It’s a look inside my head, that’s what it really is,” she says, speaking from her Paris apartment where much of the work due to be exhibited at the show is laid out around her.
Faithfull gained notoriety as part of swinging London’s hedonistic rock and roll scene in the 1960s and ‘70s. She married artist and curator John Dunbar - who co-curated this exhibition with her - in 1965 and later left him to date Rolling Stone Mick Jagger telling the "New Musical Express, "my first move was to get a Rolling Stone as a boyfriend. I slept with three and decided the lead singer was the best bet.” Dunbar was a contemporary of Peter Blake, whose work also features in the exhibition. Faithfull later also spent some time sharing a flat with Henrietta Moraes – muse of Lucian Freud and Francis Bacon.
Although there are some pieces with a personal significance for herl, such as a portrait of David Hockney by Peter Blake, the collection is more loosely an impression of the singer's tastes. The title of the exhibition takes its name from William Blake. “It’s my great love,” she says. referring to the work of Blake. Meanwhile, a Richard Long painting of England has also been chosen to express her “love of England”.
The works – which are all from the Tate archives – span the beginning of the 19th century up to the early 1990s. They include Piero Manzoni’s Artist's Breath, a Francis Bacon portrait of a life mask of William Blake, and Pity by William Blake. Also included is Man Ray’s Indestructible Object, (which, ironically, was broken and had to be restored).
The location of the exhibition holds a special significance for Faithfull. She spent the first six years of her life living in a nearby suburb while her father studied for a doctorate, and later on she would perform there. The return to the city is bittersweet. Although she thinks it’s a positive move hosting the exhibition outside the London-centric art scene she says the closing of Liverpool’s docks has proved a big blow to the city.
“I think it’s very sad that it’s not still a working port. You look at Hamburg – wonderful art gallery there too but it’s still working – it’s a working port. I remember as a little girl my mother taking me down to the docks and pointing out the big ships going to America. That started off an obsession with me. I thought I must go there.” Innocence And Experience, (part of the DLA Piper Series), is at Tate Liverpool from April 21–September 2, 2012.