Liverpool John Moores BA students to go ahead with their Degree Show… on Mars.

As students’ struggle amidst the covid-19 pandemic struggle to survive, Liverpool John Moores BA students are taking action to showcase their work. Faced by multiple Degree Shows cancellation, postponement, and ‘online-only’ surrogates – long criticised by many – the Liverpool institution is launching their final exhibition… “on Mars”.

Ashleigh Sands and Ella Crabtree. ‘The Degree Show on Mars’ from Liverpool John Moores University BA Fine Art launches 5 June 2020, degreeshowonmars.com

“The planet is currently broken. We are doing our degree show on Mars.” – BA Fine Art Students from Liverpool John Moores University

Rather than simply moving their work online, then, the Liverpool John Moores BA students are embracing our new circumstances by rethinking their final exhibition to be staged on another planet. They are using NASA’s detailed 3D scans to transport viewers to the Gale crater on Mars – creating a multiverse exhibition which directly responds to realities prior to, and during, lockdown. The show launches on 5 June via degreeshowonmars.com, with guest selectors including internationally renowned artist Ryan Gander, writer Miranda Sawyer and curator Hans Ulrich Obrist.

Degree Show On Mars, Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) BA Fine Degree Show, 2020. ‘The Degree Show on Mars’ from Liverpool John Moores University BA Fine Art launches 5 June 2020, degreeshowonmars.com

The Degree Show on Mars will be a multiverse exhibition responding to realities prior to, and during, lockdown. I have been following artists’ reactions to the current time for a while. It seems almost impossible not to be influenced by the unprecedented situation that surrounds us at present, both ideologically and in your work methods. Artists, in particular, found in this tragic circumstance a catalyst for creativity. Many responded to this new world as they found it, reflecting on it, challenging it, and helping to build an understanding of what we are experiencing. The Degree Show on Mars directly addresses the current global situation, through the eyes of artists who are emerging into a world very different to that which they had anticipated.

Nicole Stiff. ‘The Degree Show on Mars’ from Liverpool John Moores University BA Fine Art launches 5 June 2020, degreeshowonmars.com

Each one of the artists’ response is peculiar, unique. The final show is, indeed, a multiverse – it showcases a series of possible worlds where viewers can encounter the variety and complexity of the artists’ individual, collaborative and curatorial practices. Using NASA’s detailed 3D scans of the Martian landscape, viewers are transported to the Gale crater on Mars. This virtual landscape is scattered with crash-landed objects that are alien to the planet’s surface. Each object represents a graduating artist, and acts as a portal or wormhole, leading the viewer back in time and space to an exhibition in Liverpool staged by the students one week prior to lockdown. Documented using Matterport 3D software, visitors can wander around the entire exhibition of the 53 artists. Each artwork in the show then acts as a further portal to that student’s current work, allowing audiences to observe how the artists represent their practices during lockdown.


Ellie Towers. ‘The Degree Show on Mars’ from Liverpool John Moores University BA Fine Art launches 5 June 2020, degreeshowonmars.com

The Degree Show on Mars is not a pared back simulation of what might have been, rather a voyage that seeks to collectively establish new relevance and understanding for the artists’ individual endeavours, amid the stasis the world is currently experiencing.The works presented are themselves otherworldly. They share a similar, uncanny humour, as seen in the works by Nicole Stiff and Ellie Towers; or vivid colours and surrealistic messages, as in James Pope and Kylie Evans.

On the evening of the 5th June there will be a live opening event. There will be curated walk- throughs, recommended artworks chosen by external selectors who are leaders in the artworld, prizes selected by the Directors of Tate Liverpool, FACT and the Liverpool Biennial, along with a series of residency prizes at the Royal Standard, CBS studios and Bidston Observatory.


James Pope. ‘The Degree Show on Mars’ from Liverpool John Moores University BA Fine Art launches 5 June 2020, degreeshowonmars.com

External selectors include: Kate Cooper (artist), Ryan Gander (artist), Samuel Leuenberger (Founder & Director, SALTS, Basel & Art Parcours Curator, Art Basel), Miranda Sawyer (Writer and Broadcaster), Hans Ulrich Obrist (Artistic Director, Serpentine Galleries, London) with others to be announced.


Degree Show On Mars, Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) BA Fine Degree Show, 2020. ‘The Degree Show on Mars’ from Liverpool John Moores University BA Fine Art launches 5 June 2020,
degreeshowonmars.com

Participating artists: Georgia Addy, Mitchell Armstrong, Sophie Bacon, Cheryl Blackburn, Parice Bowyer, Harriet Butler, Ian Colligan, Tom Condon, Joshua Cook, Ella Crabtree, Stephanie Da Maia, Emma Dolan, Chloe Eadie, Kyle Evans, Chelsie Feather, Rachel Geary, Joe Goff, Jake Gould, Hannah Graham, Ruta Griskeviciute, Kea Haughey, Kyle Hicks, Beth Hill, Mary Hill, Franky Hughes, Sheree John, Nadia Kawafi, Carys Kilduff, Beth King, Emma Magill, Shannon May, Erin McKerrow, Chelsey Morrison, Phoebe O’Connor, James Ockenden, James Pope, Bethany Prandle, Angelica Rossiter, Millicent Rotchford-Monks, Daniel Rymer, Ashleigh Sands, Jennifer Sharp, Nicole Stiff, Monika Sznajder, Ellie Towers, Morgan Tunnicliffe, Kirsty Jo Wallace, Bethany Wallis, Natalie Weston, Martine Williams, Rachael Williams, Meri Williamson, Johnmichael Woodruff.


Degree Show On Mars, Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) BA Fine Degree Show, 2020. ‘The Degree Show on Mars’ from Liverpool John Moores University BA Fine Art launches 5 June 2020, degreeshowonmars.com

@degreeshowonmars #degreeshowonmars

Fine Art Students Host BA Degree Show on Mars
Liverpool John Moores University 5 June 2020 onwards Private View: 5:30pm, 5 June 2020

About BA Fine Art, Liverpool John Moores University
LJMU Fine Art is a course that is unique in the UK – rather than doing one show a year (a degree show), they average over 55 exhibitions yearly in many unique spaces around the city of Liverpool and beyond. The students are offered intensive experimentation and testing, achieving great independence and ambition. With unique residency prizes, and 1-1 mentoring prizes with the Directors of Liverpool’s leading art institutions, (Tate Liverpool, the Liverpool Biennial and FACT), the university supports its graduates in embedding their careers and creating a lasting impact locally and nationally.

Staff: Rory Macbeth (Programme Leader), Peter Appleton, John Byrne, Adam Carr, Juliet Carroll, Jai Chuhan, Richard Creed, Chris Evans, Patricia MacKinnon-Day, Neil Morris, Roy Claire Potter, Imogen Stidworthy, Bedwyr Williams, Mark Wright.

About Irene Machetti

I am a freelance journalist, who has been collaborating with FAD for over 2 years. I recently founded the column FOOD ART, where I interview artists, and thinkers working around issues related to food. I have a growing interest for contemporary art, especially ceramics, photography, and performance art, in which I specialised at The Courtauld Institute of Art.