STANLEY DOCK SUNDAY MARKET, 26th September & 7th November 1999


The ‘Off The Beaten Track II’ event which Art Laboratory UK (ALUK) staged on the first and last Sunday of the Biennial was the latest action in an ongoing mission to present new artworks in peripheral areas.

ART LABORATORY U.K. was formed in 1997 by four Liverpool-based artists Stefania Corbelli, Alan Dunn, Brigitte Jurack and Fabrizio Simeoni. The four artists docked in Liverpool at various points during the 90’s and remained.


20th March Liverpool Freeport inspection with Flying Angel

15th April Dock at the Port of Marghera, Mestre, nr Venice – full cargo – custom clearance – maritime interventions

26th September ‘Brave Merchants’ return to Liverpool, Europe’s second biggest scrap port, with full containers and goods


The ‘event’ was four artists arriving at a busy Sunday market with a van full of newly created artworks around the theme of docks and journeys. As a short term intervention, we were unable to reserve a stall with the Market owners. Hence the event was a gamble in terms of securing a location and also introducing artworks to an unexpecting audience.

We got there by 7.30am and reported to the office to wait to be allocated a pitch and were eventually taken to a plot of indoor ground about 30x8ft to set up. The site for the first Sunday was excellent – located in a busy thoroughfare and surrounded by stalls with regular clients. On the second Sunday, as the market entered its pre-Christmas period, our pitch was in another building and slightly cut off.


The Stanley Dock Heritage Market attracts thousands of people every Sunday. It is difficult to put an exact ‘audience figure’ on the ALUK project but it must run to three figures. Our hope was to mix a regular market audience with an invited art audience and ALUK was grateful for visits from the following supporters:

Becky Shaw, Kelly Large, Kate Wise, Geoff Molyneux, Jo Sorotos, Jonathan Swain, Catherine Orbach, Duncan Curtis, Judy Mazonowicz, Jo Provan, Diana Harker, Andrea Rosney, Pam Barr, Maureen Oyadiran, Stephen Graham, Jo Drakes, Trevor Seal, John Ridley, Patrick Brown Margit Schöning, Sue Leask, Georg Gartz and Nigel Brown.


Stefania Corbelli presented a video documenting the making/collapsing and remaking of four fragile bridges using 'house of cards' structures and wax units as playing cards. The video was installed within a black tunnel-box. And some of the wax units were for sale in individual polythene bags, each accompanied by a photograph of the structure they belonged to. For the second Sunday the tunnel-box was sealed. This time the video was to be viewed only through a loophole in the original tunnel-box and one of the actual wax bridges was interposed between the viewer and the TV screen. The research trip to the port of Marghera took place on the 23rd, 24th & 25th day of the Kosovo war. Venice at the time was flown over by NATO planes. Images of bombed bridges filled the Italian newspapers. Eight had been destroyed and nine damaged by the 26th day of the conflict. Bridges, and ports. Links now missing.

Alan Dunn presented:

a) a set of six 60x40’ digital prints, collages of a humorous and surreal nature looking at life on the ocean waves.

b) a set of specifically created postcards, including works from invited artists Jürgen Kisters (Cologne-based art critic) and Gustavo Espinosa (Derby-based Colombian artist/photographer).

c) an edition of ten hand-stencilled t-shirts bearing the ALUK logo, twelve anagrams of ‘STANLEY DOCK’ and the following quote from George Wyllie:

"it should be obvious that an adventurous voyage is most unlikely in the shallow waters of a bathtub, but the illusion of that possibility persists and is exemplified by art that never sails beyond the gallery"

Brigitte Jurack presented an edition of twenty signed and numbered sculptures entitled ‘stranded’. From an original wooden model of a boat found in a flea market near Stanley Dock, twenty solid plaster casts were made. For each, a stamped yellow carrying bag was provided. They echoed sunken vessels, reflecting the changing function of Stanley Dock from active port to commercial outlet.

Fabrizio Simeoni presented a plaster and rusty metal sundial disc, marked using a mixed media fresco technique and gold leaf. The work was specific to the precise location in terms of latitude/longitude surveys. Similar calculations were carried out at the Port of Marghera, where a rudimentary sundial was 'engraved' in the soil. For the second Sunday 24 diagrams and studies used for the 'tuning' of the sundial took the shape of small silverpoint drawings on pigmented plaster.



Those who passed the ALUK stall did a double-take. We had carefully staged the event to resemble a standard market stall from afar. On second inspection, viewers noticed that the objects on display were not quite the norm. They approached the stall to inquire, seemed impressed by the fact that all items were hand-made and, on some occasions, purchased some items.

Wendy Fair, the company behind the Heritage Market were sufficiently impressed by ALUK’s impact to offer vast site-hire discounts on both Sundays.



Description of Project

The next stop-off point in ALUK’s "OFF THE BEATEN TRACK" journey is Stanley Dock in Liverpool. Thirty feet worth of "stall area" at the Dock’s Sunday market will be booked for 26th September and 7th November – the first and last weekends of The Biennial. This will encourage the viewing of new artworks in a maritime setting, introduce a large and diverse audience to the event and allow access to reference material and documentation from interventions at various dock sites (see itinerary above).

Each ALUK artist will work within a £100 production budget to develop new works tracing the group’s voyages from 1997 to date. The traditional market stall format will become sculpture as well as display unit and multiples offered to the public at very tempting prices.

Building upon research trips to the Leeds-Liverpool canal in Bootle, the Port of Marghera nr Venice, Neuss Harbour, Amsterdam, Belfast Port and The Liverpool Freeport with the Flying Angel, the following will be presented:



The event will be in the spirit of Fluxus, spiced with memories of the striking dockers’ stalls on Church Street and tales of the French POWs’ paintings forever hidden in the vaults under Stanley Dock’s clocktower. The ghostly Dock, earmarked for a future "Marina Development" will form the backdrop to the two-day performance.

In keeping with ALUK’s Mission Statement, it will deliver quality and poignant new artworks in a "peripheral" area that is in fact a mere five-minute drive from the established culture of the Albert Dock. Stanley Dock Market is housed in the crumbling Grade 2 Listed Tobacco Building, the largest brick-built warehouse in the UK.

The regular Sunday Market attracts huge crowds from throughout Merseyside. As such, a three figure primarily "non-gallery" audience for the event is guaranteed. Additionally, ten days prior to the 26th, the North West’s arts community will receive invitations to attend.

What the Stanley Dock represents touches all classes and walks of life. "Off The Beaten Track" will bring people together from either end of the Dock Road on these two Sundays amidst the looming warehouses and shipping relics.