Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Liverpool Biennial & Independent exhibition

The Newspaper House
installation by Sumer Erek
produced by Karen Janody

The Blackie Art centre
Great George Street
Liverpool L1 9EW
11am and 6pm daily (except Tues)

Photographs by Mark McNulty
Please, ask permission to use these photographs.

Mark McNulty ©


The Newspaper House continues its journey to Liverpool, the Cultural Capital of Europe 2008, during the 5th Liverpool Biennial of contemporary arts.

It was first created in London’s Gillett Square in March 2008, transforming over 85,000 used newspapers into a thought provoking artwork, attracting a wide range of people and press coverage internationally. It now counts over 100,000 newspapers.

The nature of the project is participatory. Liverpool artists, residents, visitors, community organisations, and schools have been invited to participate. A new community, whose members become engaged in a process of creation, forms temporarily. In past times, this was not out of the ordinary, today culturally,
it is no longer a shared experience.

The action of rolling the newspaper returns it to an almost natural state, close its natural origin. Newspapers are then placed in a prescriptive order to create the foundation of the “House”.

First Erek builds a shell-like structure. Metin Senerguc writes:
“If we re-read Walter Benjamin's aphorismatic warning: "The work is the mask of its conception", we may believe that Erek is trying to turn this process around in his Newspaper House project. He first builds the mask, then places the ideas within it. He fills it up from inside to make it visible.”

Inside the Newspaper House. Photography by Sumer Erek

To appreciate the complexity of this installation, one needs to understand the notion of 'house', which recurs in Erek's works. Metin Senerguc writes:
“This notion can perhaps be seen as his reaction to having lived more than half of his life away from the land of his birth. But to see the notion of 'house' as a nostalgic longing for the motherland would be misleading. Especially in the "Upside Down House" (2001), the 'house' is used not just as a location but also as an existential niche, home and a metaphor for identity and belonging. In the Newspaper House project, Erek takes 'house' a step further. He turns the 'Newspaper House' into both a shelter and a workshop, where he creates his art. At the same time it becomes a finished artwork and a 'gallery', which spectators walk into to see the artwork.”

Erek places the Newspaper House between the private and the public, the real and the imagined, the work of art and the gallery. It purposely remains in a constant ‘work in progress’ stage, as life is itself. The relationship with real life is the reason he says:
"One of my main aims with this project is to share it with participants who are not artists, and to embrace this process as natural as one lives his daily life."

Suzana Vaz points out in her writing to this particular aspect of Sumer Erek’s work:
“Erek's biography is marked by the early event of expatriation within the territory of Cyprus, divided as a result of the 70's Greek/Turkish dispute. From this founding experience would emanate Erek's main interrogations and deepest insights: ontology and ethics, identity and belonging, the body as an ultimate area of belonging, the creative sensitive vehicle that enacts meaning and through which the latter may be shared. Fulfilling such intuitions, the artwork is envisaged as the syncretic ground that enables the accomplishment of meaningful processes of life and of living experience.”

Sumer Erek unveiling the House.

Coinciding with the opening of the Biennial, Sumer Erek removed the shell to ‘reveal’ the final artwork. A fitting epitaph to Liverpool, Capital of Culture as 2008 draws to a close.

Produced by Karen Janody / Creative City

Karen Janody has a history of curating/ producing art shows, which do not leave their audiences indifferent. Henry Ughetto's striking 'Manequins Imputressibles' made a lasting impression on her, inspiring a life-long commitment to working in the arts and cultural sector. Now in London, working outside of the established gallery environment gives Karen a chance to open the lines of communication between the art or non-art public and between the artwork / the use of space.

Supported by

L1 Partnership,
Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation,
Liverpool City Council City North Neighbourhood,
Liverpool Environmental Department,
Plus Dane Group, LHT, NMS,

/// Recent press ::

The Newspaper House was featured on page 3 of Liverpool's Daily Post

Read the whole story on the
Liverpool Daily Post website

The Newspaper House was featured on BBC Northwest Tonight Monday 15th.

Sumer Erek and Karen Janody were interviewed by Claire Hamilton for Radio BBC Merseyside broadcasted Tuesday 16th at 6pm.

Sumer Erek was interviewed on Simon O'Brian's show on Radio City on Saturday 13th.

Sumer and Karen spent an evening with Margie Clarke on Saturday 20th for Radio City.

Karen Janody was interviewed by Neil Morrin for ARTINLIVERPOOLFM (Defnet Media).

Ruth Dillon wrote a great review for Nerve


With very special thanks to Ashley Middleton for managing the Youth Engagement and volunteering programme.

Councillor Stephen Munby (Chair of L1 Partnership), Adrian Devers (City Council City and North Neighboorhood) and Maria Checkland (Merseytravel) for their unquantifiable support and help in getting the Liverpool project off the ground.

The project would have never been made possible without the support from our funders:
L1 Partnership, Liverpool City Council City and North Neighbourhood, Liverpool City Council Environment Department, Merseytravel, Plus Dane Group, LHT, NMS, and the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation (Liverpool Biennial sponsor).

Special thanks to Maria Checkland of Merseytravel for inviting Holy Lodge and Maghull schools, who contributed massively.

Thank you Ricky Elliot for assisting Sumer Erek in building the installation, Ruth Dillon, Tammy Siebold for accompanying us along the way and many more, who quietly led us on the right path.

Thank you to Liverpool 08 volunteers, who include:
Joe Kelshaw, Shelagh, Margie, Sue and Margerita. Young people from Liverpool L1 and L8 include Ben Osu , Ellie Tedford, Gracie Coppell, Alice Kelley, Joshua, Robin Weymouth, Lauren, Antonia and Laurie, Sarah Forrest and John Fisher, Leo Chrysokhou, Anthony Cannon, Cesca Middleton, Tessa Bridges, Eilleen Heyes, Collette Rothine and Faze Al.

Photography by Sumer Erek, Karen Janody, Ruth Dillon, Sumer Erek, Tamasine Siebold. Animation by John Fisher.

People ::
Sumer Erek, artist 07957666097

Karen Janody, producer 07989 954 414

Ashley Middleton, Youth Engagement Officer 07 841 707 454