Tate Liverpool today unveiled it’s latest display – Constellations: Highlights from the Nation’s Collection of Modern Art. 

Featuring over 60 pieces from the Tate Collection, the exhibition seeks to explore the collective affinity between the works of modern and contemporary art. Artists on display include L.S Lowry, George Grosz, Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque and Sarah Lucas.

This latest exhbition at the Tate Liverpool is the result of a collation of two new groupings, or ‘constellations’ of artworks stemming from and linking back to two particular pieces of contemporary art: L. S Lowry’s Industrial Landscape and George Grosz’s Suicide.


L.S Lowry, ‘Industrial Landscape’, 1955.

These two pieces were chosen as the centre-points from which to create constellations of other works due to their contemporary subject matter – both reflect in some way upon current issues facing society.

Artistic Director at Tate Liverpool, Francesco Manacorda, explained that the decision to use Lowry’s work as one of two cornerstones for the exhibition was rooted in how this allows the wider public to access the collection as a whole. Most people have an awareness of Lowry and from this entry point, and the themes of work and labour that his piece embodies, they can then access works by other artists within Constellations that they may not necessarily be familiar with.

George Grosz: 'Suicide', 1916.

George Grosz, ‘Suicide’, 1916.

Grosz’s Suicide was chosen to provide contrast to Lowry’s piece and to introduce ideas and images of conflict into the exhibition, reflecting upon the ongoing conflicts taking place across the world that we are exposed to daily via news media. Just as issues of labour and conflict bleed into our lives, so too do they seep into the works of these two artists and in the work of the other creators on display, linked together by a complex web of commonality of theme, subject and poignancy.

This exhibition is absolutely worth a visit. While each piece is undeniably unique, the display is intrinsically a collective of artistry demonstrating the interplay between different eras, styles of art and artistic processes. While Lowry and Picasso are the obvious attractions on offer here, the lesser known works are deserving of equal attention and in some ways are more captivating in that they are fresh to the observer, while we may already have preconceptions of the contemporary art embodied by the more famous artists on display.

Rollin’s ‘New World Order’ piece is a great example of what the lesser known artists on display have to offer: here cutting political satire makes for a brilliant, if a little absurd, offering of modern art.

Tim Rollins, 'Animal Farm - New World Order' 1989-92.

Tim Rollins, ‘Animal Farm – New World Order’ 1989-92.

Within the Constellations exhibition is a custom space designed to host a new experiment by the gallery: Tate Exchange Liverpool. The Exchange is a project that according to Manacorda, “seeks to provide a platform to debate through art the issues and ideas that generate through artists and their activity”. The project invites the public to come together with a group of associates to collaborate, test ideas and discover new perspectives of art and wider life.

In this way Tate Liverpool hopes to generate knowledge with the audience, not just broadcasting knowledge from the inside out, but instead creating a two way dialogue between the gallery and visitors, creating a feedback entry. The Exchange is a free programme of events, talks and workshops spanning a wide range of artists, issues and themes. It looks to be an interesting ‘open experiment’ for the public to engage with and take part of.

Constellations opens on the 25th of November, while the Tate Exchange series runs from the 26th of November onward.