La Dolce Vita

Alan Dunn and David Jacques
Stanley Road /Great Mersey Street

Reviewed by Anthony Swords

Alan and Dave’s massive mural - stretching across three billboards - has brought a real sense of colour and romance to an otherwise monochrome part of Liverpool’s Stanley Road. Alan, who has worked frequently with large scale art, said that “the idea of the billboard is to grab your attention in the first four seconds of seeing it...we wanted to achieve the opposite.”

This piece might not smack you in the face like its commercial counterparts, but to suggest it is not striking would be a disservice to this beautiful rendition of the bay of Naples in the 1950s. The piece belongs to the wider exchange of culture and art called Cities on the Edge in which port cities across Europe - who share a similar cultural and historical point of view - trade artistic ideas. Thankfully Alan and Dave avoided the temptation to focus upon the political and geographical similarities between the two cities and have created an impression of Naples, capturing the essence of the city as they imagine it in this era.

Created using photos taken by the unknown Peter Forster some fifty years ago, the artists have created a composite of images that is not tied to a true geographical layout of the bay. The fragments of text that run throughout the piece complement this; some genuine recollections and some dubious, that emphasises the idea of time and memory as various words and people will catch the eye each time you look at it.

The 1950s is an unusual era to focus on. It is an often forgotten decade between the gritty war torn years and the garish pop culture decade of the 1960s, yet it carries its own cultural and iconographic baggage which makes the pastel, Technicolor film stock utilised here a striking and unusual colour scheme. The romance of the era will be brought to life with food, dancing and an outdoor screening of Fellini’s masterpiece La Dolce Vita (1960) on Saturday 20th September in the space behind the mural outside the Rotunda Community College.

Printer friendly page

Comments are closed for this review