Works by Yoko Ono, one of the world’s leading contemporary artists and social activists, will go on display in Blackpool as part of the inaugural Lightpool Festival.
Her works will be exhibited alongside artists including Bob and Roberta Smith, Mark Titchner and Liz West at the festival, which will run from October 28 to November 2.
The new six-night festival will transform the town centre, encouraging visitors and residents to explore on foot, a spectacular walking route will feature more than 30 art works from local, national and international artists, inspired by Blackpool’s history and linking together its iconic buildings.
Yoko Ono, widow of Beatle John Lennon, will have two works, created 50 years apart, on display in the resort.
She said: “I’m thrilled that ‘Parts of A Light House’ will be realised for the LightPool Festival, and I hope that this and the message of IMAGINE PEACE: Think Peace, Act Peace, Spread Peace, will bring hope, comfort and light to all those visiting this wonderful festival during the holiday season.”
Arts Council England and Coastal Communities Fund have helped fund the festival.
I’m thrilled that ‘Parts of A Light House’ will be realised
Each night in St John’s Square, a programme of live performances will wow visitors with light and fire displays from some of the world’s leading performance artists.
Yoko Ono’s installation Parts of a Light House (1965) will sit in the nave of Blackpool’s Sacred Heart Church, and IMAGINE PEACE is an update of Ono’s billboards produced for New York City in 2001 in response to the September 11 World Trade Centre tragedy.
It has been reworked in film, specifically for use as a ‘moving billboard.
The film displays the words IMAGINE PEACE in 24 languages against a background of blue sky and clouds, to the soundtrack of John Lennon’s song Imagine. The work will be shown on Blackpool’s historic North Pier.
Other highlights of the first LightPool Festival include:
Art Is Your Human Right by Bob and Roberta Smith, which will see illuminated words hanging at eye-catching locations around the town centre
Two new commissions from 2006 Turner prize nominee Mark Titchner. Progress is inspired by a 1930s illumination sketch by Claudegen, the father of neon, on Blackpool Town Hall. Nearby, Titchner offers his response What Use is Life Without Progress on Popworld, by Blackpool Promenade
The installations will form an illuminated trail.
Coun Gillian Campbell, deputy leader of Blackpool Council said: “Yoko Ono is a world-renowned name and I’m delighted that we’ve been able to secure her artwork as well as her endorsement.
“Not only are we establishing Blackpool as a hotbed of quality art and culture, we are also providing entertainment for all ages of the family, attracting more visitors to the resort, in turn boosting the local economy and creating jobs.”
Alison Clark, Director North, Arts Council England said, “We are very pleased to support LightPool through our National Lottery funded Grants for the Arts programme. This Festival is a wonderful platform to showcase exciting and unusual work that will delight audiences. Light Festivals are growing in popularity in the UK and Europe, and it’s great to see Blackpool, with its wonderful illuminations history, as part of this growth.”
Coastal Communities Minister Andrew Percy said: “Thanks to £2 million from our Coastal Communities Fund, the festival is one of the star attractions of Blackpool’s growing tourism economy. The LightPool Festival is a fantastic way to celebrate our Great British Coast and I would encourage everyone to visit.”
Alex Rinsler, creative lead for LightPool, said: “Arts festivals turn the everyday into something extraordinary – they create magical spaces where people can come together, share experiences and explore something new. We’re thrilled to be bringing such a range of wonderful artists to Blackpool to reimagine the town with residents and visitors alike.”
LightPool Festival builds on the successes of The LightPool shows on The Blackpool Tower, launched in 2015 and running throughout the 2016 Blackpool Illuminations. Visitors this year are spoilt for choice, with three new 3-D projection shows designed specifically for LightPool. They include Chasing Stars by The Projection Studio, introduced by Tim Peake and based on the pioneering work of European Space Agency, Down the Rabbit Hole by Czech digital art collective The Macula, and Enchanted Blackpool, created by film-maker Cecile Llewelyn-Bowen, using designs by her father Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen. All three of the films, along with two popular shows from last year’s LightPool events, will be available to watch for free from the Comedy Carpet several times every night, with extra performances at weekends and over the October half term.
The LightPool programme also includes a fantastic new exhibition at The Grundy Art Gallery – NEON: The Charged Line, which brings together some of the most internationally renowned neon artworks from the 1960s to the present day.
Blackpool has a long history of collaborating with light technologies. Light is synonymous with the town’s history and development since the first eight arc lamps that graced the promenade in 1879 to in excess of the 1,000,000 lamps that now feature in this year’s display. Blackpool Illuminations also has a long history of commissioning artists and collaborating with cultural partners such as the Arts Service and the Grundy Art Gallery.
For more details on this year’s LightPool, go to www.visitblackpool.com/lightpool
Blackpool Illuminations light up until Sunday 6 November.
All the events will be free to attend and accessible for the whole family.#