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> > > News: DaDaFest 2012 commissions North-West based artists for Niet Normaal: Difference on Display
photo of the white brick wall of a gallery with a series of large black letters tumbling down near the bottom of the wall

Untitled: Wall Painting from Ben Cove

Niet Normaal: Difference on Display, a major international contemporary art exhibition, comes to the Bluecoat, Liverpool this summer as part of DaDaFest 2012 and is set to include two new commissions from influential North West artists.

Manchester based artist Andrew Tunney and acclaimed comedian and Liverpool native Laurence Clark will together produce a comic entitled SuperCrip especially for this ground breaking exhibition. Manchester artist Ben Cove will also be re-working one of his most acclaimed pieces for Niet Normaal’s DaDaFest outing. 

SuperCrip is a new comic book hero for the 21st century. Andrew Tunney, also known as 2hands, and comedian Laurence Clark have teamed up to produce this exciting and humorous story.

Liverpool native Laurence Clark feels his outlook on life as a disabled person shapes his comedy. His first show, 'All-Star Charity Show' won critical acclaim at Edinburgh Fringe in 2003. It was Critics’ Choice in The Times and Laurence was described as a “powerful comedy voice” in the Scotman’s round-up of the best shows. Laurence’s next show, 'The Jim Davidson Guide to Equality' was similarly well-received and toured over 40 venues. He was profiled by BBC Northwest Tonight and was a guest reporter on BBC 2’s Newsnight, writing and presenting a film about disability and abortion.

Manchester based Andrew Tunney’s work is youth focused, street driven with an eye for couture and is inspired by comics, animation and films. He believes in the power of stories, characters and alternative cultures. Tunney has worked internationally in animation, character design, comics, print, fashion, live at festivals and club nights and alongside Antony Wilson as the resident live artist on his final TV series 'The New Friday'.

For Niet Normaal: Difference on Display, Ben Cove will be recreating his Untitled: Wall Painting first seen at the exhibition Practical Mechanics at Cell Projects, London in 2006. Cove's work regularly explores how social expectation manifests through architecture. His work follows two conflicting urges: the one to create a consistently seductive representation of utopia and the other is to indulge in the rebellion and rejection of it. Humanised individuality struggling against the smooth imposition of too much order.
Ben Cove grew up in Manchester and currently lives and works in London. He graduated from Goldsmiths College, University of London with an MFA in 2008. He has been the recipient of a number of awards including the Goldsmiths Warden's MFA Purchase Award, several Arts Council Awards for Artists. In addition to studio work and residencies, he has taught and given lectures at various universities across the UK. His work is not bound by any specific media and includes painting, drawing, sculpture, installation and video.
Garry Robson, Co-Curator Niet Normaal said:

“It’s is a great thrill for DaDaFest to be able to restage Ine Gevers’ ground breaking Niet Normaal exhibition in Liverpool, when I came in as Co-Curator we both agreed it was vital to refresh the show to reflect its new North West identity. In Cove, Clark and Tunney we have three fantastic North West artists who all boast an enviable reputation for reinventing their specific genres and challenging the way people look at the world around them.”

From Fri 13 July – Sun 2 September, the Bluecoat will be given over to this landmark exhibition, which will feature the work of over 20 internationally renowned artists including new commissions, each addressing a definitive question of our time: ‘what is normal and who decides?', specifically focussing on language as freedom and language as imprisonment. This question is being examined through art that aims to celebrate difference in the year of London’s hosting of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, in the context of a disability and deaf arts festival. 

The exhibition also forms part of the London 2012 Festival, a spectacular 12-week nationwide celebration from 21 June and running until 9 September 2012 bringing together leading artists from across the world with the very best from the UK.

There will also be a series of talks, films, workshops and seminars during the period, where the public, artists and other practitioners can come together to discuss the exhibition and the issues it raises.

DaDaFest 2012, the biggest, most comprehensive and challenging festival of Disability & Deaf Arts in the world, takes place in Liverpool from Fri 13 July – Sun 2 September, with the majority of live events concentrated in the last two weeks of August. These range from cutting-edge comedy to deaf culture events and leading international musicians, in a programme that will both entertain and present artforms from different cultural perspectives. The Festival’s theme, TransActions - Fluid Bodies: Shifting Identities, will look at how disability affects us all, examining exchanges that occur between people and technology, and how a sense of identity is bound up with our changing bodies.

Niet Normaal: Difference on Display is produced by DaDaFest at the Bluecoat

For more information go to search for DaDaFest on Facebook or follow @DaDaFest on Twitter.