Open Culture were commissioned by the BBC to bring together hundreds of people from the Liverpool city region to create a giant ‘living artwork’ at Liverpool’s iconic Pier Head. The artwork was created to coincide with Mondrian and his Studios, an exhibition at Tate Liverpool and designed to be a colourful community engagement experience for all.
A diverse mix of groups and individuals performed and showed off their creativity in the specific colours of yellow, red, blue and white to make up the huge live artwork that was broadcast on The One Show and formed part of the BBC4 Goes Abstract Season in September 2014.
“I just wanted to drop you a line to thank you for all your help, support and work on the fabulous Merseyside Mondrian which I was privileged to watch being created on Saturday afternoon! I thought it was just terrific; a fabulous piece of public engagement, highlighting a seminal artist and producing a fabulous spectacle at the end, which I’m desperate to see the final glorious results of on the One Show tonight!"
— Cassian Harrison
BBC Four Channel Editor
Open Culture were commissioned by theBBC North Event Editor to coordinate the participatory element of the event, and we were tasked with recruiting and managing hundreds of volunteers to take part and help to create a new living artwork - a Mondrian made of people.
Our aim was to reflect the rich tapestry of Merseyside, for both our communities and our city’s iconic features, whilst creating a standout broadcast moment.
The final living art installation was captured in film and photography and was featured on The One Show and was also part of the BBC4 Goes Abstract Season: When Art Broke Free. A new season of programmes exploring some art’s most divisive and influential abstract artists, supported by radio programmes and regional events such as this.
“I know the One Show team and the BBC North team will join me in saying this was a fabulous example of how we at the BBC can all come together to work with organisations such as yours to produce moments that are really special and singular. Exactly what we should all be doing, and I look forward to the next!”
— Cassian Harrison, BBC Four Channel Editor
Alongside the community engagement, Open Culture also led the delivery and event management of Merseyside Mondrian on the day, working alongside the BBC, Tate Liverpool and Culture Liverpool. We signed up over 800people to take part in this huge human art project.
The photographers and BBC film crew were stationed at the top of the Liver Building for the aerial shots and down on the Pier Head in the midst of the action. BBC One presenter Iwan Thomas was on site for filming to meet all the participants and join in the live art, for later broadcast.
Each of the squares on the giant artwork were curated by different groups and individuals, all wearing one of the four colours with some performing, some creating their own work of art, and all aiming to create a large block of colour as part of the overall piece.
Bluecoat, Collective Encounters, Greasby Book Club, Buddy Up Sefton CVS, UrbanCraft Collective, Capoeira North West, St Helens Day Opportunities Service, and the Mersey Wave Choir.
Performances and activities that took place on the day included Tai Chi, Capoeira, riding unicycles, yarn bombing, over-sized knitting projects, dance, hula-hooping, belly dancing, Brazilian drumming and samba performers.
“The overall effect was truly spectacular, and it was wonderful to see so many people coming together with such staggering creativity and enthusiasm to create their very own tribute to Mondrian. I think he would have been absolutely delighted with the end result.”
— Cassian Harrison, BBC Four Channel Editor
With over 800 participants signed up from across the region, Merseyside Mondrian was a reflection of the people and the places that make up this diverse and distinct city region. It brought together people to create something engaging, fun, innovative and a one off! With the day’s activity caught on film and broadcast 4 days later on The One Show on BBC One.
As way of thank you from Tate Liverpool, each participating artist also received a complimentary ticket for the Mondrian exhibition to visit at their leisure.
“Great working with the BBC team and a terrific set of programmes last night....thank you for the great support... and especially the Open Culture team for a brilliant project. Look forward to working together again!”
— Andrea Nixon, Executive Director, Tate Liverpool