Liverpool Biennial and Tate Liverpool announce new sculpture for Liverpool

9th July 2018

Major new public artwork for Liverpool waterfront to mark cultural anniversaries will be iconic landmark for City Region

Liverpool Biennial and Tate Liverpool today announced a new joint project with internationally acclaimed artist Ugo Rondinone – his first major work in the UK. The sculpture, called Liverpool Mountain will stand at over 10 metres tall, next to Tate Liverpool in Royal Albert Dock Liverpool. The work is planned to be unveiled this autumn.

The artwork celebrates Liverpool City Region’s commitment to supporting bold, contemporary art and its status as a world renowned cultural destination. Part of the Liverpool 2018 programme, the project marks the 10th anniversary of Liverpool European Capital of Culture, the 20th anniversary of Liverpool Biennial and the 30th anniversary of Tate Liverpool.

Ugo Rondinone is famous for creating large scale public art sculptures. His work for Liverpool is part of the artist’s mountain series and will be similar to the technicolour towers he has created in Miami and Las Vegas which are designed to elevate their surroundings.

Liverpool Mountain will be Rondinone’s first public artwork in the UK and the first of its kind in Europe. Rising ten metres, the sculptures consist of rocks stacked vertically, with each stone painted a different fluorescent colour. Inspired by naturally occurring Hoodoos (spires or pyramids of rock) and the art of meditative rock balancing, they seem to defy gravity in their teetering formations, poised between the natural, the artificial and the manmade.

The sculpture will transform the Mermaid Courtyard area, next to Tate Liverpool at Royal Albert Dock Liverpool, a previously under-used space on the World Heritage site.

This new project takes forward Liverpool’s outstanding tradition of working with world class artists to create public art for key sites around the City Region that have become treasured landmarks and part of the fabric of life in the city. These have included:

  • Peter Blake’s Everybody Razzle Dazzle (2015), which covers the Mersey Ferry Snowdrop in a distinctive pattern in monochrome and colour, and has now become a much-loved feature of Liverpool’s waterfront life.
  • Jaume Plensa’s Dream (2009), chosen by a group of ex-miners and commissioned by St. Helens Council. Sited on top of the former Sutton Manor Colliery, Dream stands 20 metres high midway between Liverpool and Manchester.
  • Antony Gormley’s Another Place (2005) consisting of 100 cast-iron sculptures that stretch across 3km of Crosby Beach, Merseyside. The piece has become one of the most well-loved and widely recognised public artworks in the UK.

Ugo Rondinone is one of the most noted contemporary artists today, working in a wide range of styles and materials. The Swiss artist’s public artworks are often created as a series in different cities around the world over a number of years. His famous works include Rainbow Poems, arched neon signs that spell a poem as a rainbow; Human Nature, a group of monumental stone figures in Rockefeller Center, New York, that resembled primitive robotic creatures created from the rocks of Stonehenge; and a series of mask sculptures he calls Moonrise which have been exhibited in galleries and public spaces around the world.

Ugo Rondinone’s Liverpool Mountain is one of a number of events forming part of the Liverpool 2018 programme, which is supported by £5million from the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority. Other events in the programme include China Dream, Three Festivals Tall Ships Regatta, the finale of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race and the return of the Giants possible. The project is supported by Royal Albert Dock Liverpool.

Sally Tallant, Director, Liverpool Biennial, said:

“Following in Liverpool’s great tradition of sculpture in public spaces, I am delighted that Ugo Rondinone, an internationally acclaimed artist, has accepted this major new project. It is a sign of the confidence and creativity of Liverpool as a world city, which is of course home to Liverpool Biennial, the UK’s biggest celebration of contemporary art.”

Kasia Redzisz, Senior Curator, Tate Liverpool, said:

“2018 marks 30 years since Tate Liverpool opened and we’re proud to say we’ve welcomed more that 18 million visitors over the last three decades. We play a critical role in the city by bringing outstanding international and British art to the region and we’re delighted to be working together with Liverpool Biennial, Royal Albert Dock Liverpool and the city to bring this important artist and his work to Liverpool.”

Sue Grindrod, Chief Executive of Royal Albert Dock Liverpool, said:

“As we count up towards Royal Albert Dock Liverpool’s 175th anniversary, exciting new things have been arriving through the Dock for over 172 years, and we are thrilled to be partnering with Biennial, Tate Liverpool and Liverpool City Council to bring this piece of public realm art to Mermaid Courtyard.

Ugo Rondinone’s work is striking, it is certain to stimulate the debate about the part that public art plays in the cultural landscape of the UNESCO World Heritage Waterfront. I am so delighted that the Dock is able to be the guardian of this work as we head toward a year of celebration in 2021.”



A planning application has been submitted to Liverpool City Council and should be determined in August. Arup provided planning, engineering and geotechnical support for the artwork.


Liverpool Biennial

Liverpool Biennial is the UK biennial of contemporary art. Taking place every two years across the city in public spaces, galleries, museums and online, the Biennial commissions artists to make and present work in the context of Liverpool. Liverpool Biennial is underpinned by a programme of research, education, residencies and commissions. Founded in 1998, the Biennial has commissioned over 300 new artworks and presented work by over 450 artists from around the world. Amongst artists presented in early editions are Doug Aitken, John Akomfrah, Mona Hatoum, Yayoi Kusama, Takashi Murakami, Yoko Ono and Ai Weiwei.  The 10th edition Beautiful world where are you? runs from 14 July – 28 October and celebrates 20 years of presenting international art in the City Region.

Liverpool Biennial is funded and supported by Arts Council England, Liverpool City Council and founding supporter James Moores.


Tate Liverpool

Tate Liverpool is the UK’s most visited gallery of modern art in England outside of London and is home to the national collection of modern and contemporary art. Visitors enjoy world-class exhibitions and free displays, as well as magnificent views of the building and its surroundings. The gallery is housed within a Grade I listed warehouse and is situated at the historic Royal Albert Dock Liverpool, the vibrant heart of the UNESCO designated World Heritage waterfront.


Royal Albert Dock Liverpool

In June 2018 Albert Dock was granted the prestigious title Royal in recognition of the high standards represented by the Dock, the numerous current and former sovereigns that have acknowledged the importance of the Dock both for its historical and architectural significance, and its place within Liverpool.

From the pioneering spirit of designer Jesse Hartley, to being the forefather of regeneration and a catalyst for change in Liverpool’s fortunes in the 1980s, Royal Albert Dock Liverpool continues to be a symbol of progression.

Today over six million people – from locals to national and international visitors – flock to the Dock every year to discover, explore and experience a progressive mix of culture, food, shopping and events.

Royal Albert Dock Liverpool is home to the largest group of Grade I listed buildings in the country and is located on Liverpool’s UNESCO World Heritage waterfront.


Royal Albert Dock Liverpool 175

Launched in 2016, Royal Albert Dock Liverpool 175 is an ambitious strategy which counts up to the Dock’s 175th anniversary in 2021. The 175 strategy will assert the Dock’s position as a world-class, leisure destination for tomorrow’s visitors, through the following:

  • Inspirational events that bring visitors together to share connected experiences
  • Embracing Royal Albert Dock Liverpool’s unique heritage in new and exciting ways
  • Showcasing the Dock’s progressive culture and creative assets
  • Physical changes to the public realm to improve the visitor experience
  • Driving thought-leadership on tourism, regeneration and planning
  • A year of celebration in 2021, building a new and exciting legacy for future generations


Liverpool 2018 programme

Ten years since its game-changing year as European Capital of Culture, Liverpool is marking the milestone with a programme of exciting, inspirational and thought-provoking projects which will shine an international spotlight onto the incredible cultural hub this city has become.  Bringing together international artists, performers and homegrown talent which has emerged over the last decade, more than 40 events and festivals will take place in and across the city region, including firsts, one-off spectacles and some returning, crowd-pulling favourites. The programme brings together the worlds of music, sport, ships, the best of Chinese art, great food and drink and even some cardboard box sculptures, and although its inspired by the huge success of 2008, Liverpool 2018 is focused on the renaissance which has transformed the region over the past decade and looks to position culture and creativity at the heart of all aspects of the city.

The Liverpool 2018 events programme is supported by the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority with £5 million from the Single Investment Fund.

Organisations supporting the year are HSBC, GREAT,, University of Liverpool, Global, Liverpool BID Company, ACC Liverpool, Liverpool ONE, Royal Albert Dock Liverpool, Merseytravel, Merseyrail, Arriva, Stagecoach, St Johns Shopping Centre, Arts Council England, Ticket Quarter and CreART.

For the latest information, or to help plan your visit to Liverpool go to


9th July 2018