ascension, Liverpool Sculpture Prize, unveiled Monday 17 June 2024.

A spectral white chair, already vaguely familiar to the public, hovers above the plinth. An ambitious idea, ascension takes a component from an existing artwork in Liverpool and, by shifting its context, invites us to think about aftercare and those in our society less well off.

Liverpool Biennial recently staged an event around the proposition “How do we consider and care for artists and audiences after the work is done – thinking about the work after the work.” This is the starting point for this work, which separates the decommissioned two-chair artwork RAY + JULIE (Alan Dunn & Brigitte Jurack, London Road, 1995-2023) and brings one chair to the plinth, coating it white and making it appear to float.

Click here for full history of RAY + JULIE.

Named after an innocuous piece of graffiti on the back wall and commissioned in 1995 by the Furniture Resource Centre to highlight the need for affordable furnishing, the original RAY + JULIE artwork existed for 27 years. Nobody ever knew who RAY + JULIE were, but in this new work they are separated, RAY at the plinth and JULIE left behind on London Road. It will be the first time in 27 years they will have been separated and will remind us of the solice and support that faith brings to the lonely and the forgotten.

AD: "After we created RAY + JULIE, only intended to last for six months until the road was redeveloped, they were adopted by the people of Liverpool in such a beautiful manner. The two original chairs (chairs because one commissioner was the Furniture Resource Centre to help those in vulnerable housing) are very loosely modelled on a Charles Rennie Macintosh chair from Glasgow School of Art where the two artists first met and fell in love. The two original chairs were sinking and survived for 27 years before we requested that they were decommissioned, with a potential sale of the site. We could never find anywhere suitable to rehome RAY + JULIE but this makes sense now – give JULIE her quiet independence and allow RAY to float. Over their 27 years, the chairs became the subject of poems, short stories, photographs, a play at the Everyman Theatre, a spoken word installation in St Georges Hall and were once described by The Guardian as one of Britain's Top Ten Secret Sculptures. In creating this new work for Liverpool Parish Church, using RAY, we are also creating another work, JULIE (on her own) on London Road."

Liverpool Sculpture Prize is supported by Liverpool Bid Company and Liverpool Parish Church (Our Lady and Saint Nicholas).


INSTALLATION - in the footsteps of Boy with knife carnation, St Nicholas Church, 10am, Thursday 13 June 2024, with huge thanks to Castle Arts Foundry.

PROCESS - amputating RAY behind the metal screen, London Road, 10am, Friday 24 May 2024. The last kiss.