Tango dances back

A Pop Art sculpture has danced its way back to the city to take centre stage at Liverpool ONE.

Tango is the first public sculpture by British artist Allen Jones and was commissioned for the Liverpool Garden Festival in 1984 . It  was moved to Concert Square and stood there for a number of years until the Square was reconfigured.

Now more than 30 years after  making its first appearance in the city, Tango has returned to Liverpool and given a temporary spot at Peter’s Square at Liverpool ONE as a reminder of the city’s growth and vibrancy.

Artist Allen Jones is a pioneer of British Pop Art and a contemporary of Sir Peter Blake, the artist who created The Beatles Sgt Pepper’s cover and created the designs for the Mersey Ferry dazzle ship. Jones established his international reputation in the early 1960s as a painter, printmaker and sculptor and has created designs for the stage, TV and film. A major early work by Jones is on display at the Walker Art Gallery.

Estate Director Chris Bliss explains; “We are delighted to welcome this iconic sculpture to Liverpool ONE and feel we’ve found a fitting spot for it in the heart of the Peters Lane area. The piece is striking and memorable and will provide a real focal point for those who remember it fondly from its Garden Festival days and tourists exploring the city for the first time.”

Councillor Malcolm Kennedy, Liverpool City Council cabinet member for regeneration, said: “Tango was one of many striking sculptures which featured in the Garden Festival. It is very pleasing that it is going back on public display in a prominent position in Liverpool ONE where, I am sure, it will become a real centre of attention for shoppers and visitors to the city.”

Speaking about his work Jones said: “For the Pop Art generation the city and modern life became the subject matter or the inspiration for the work.

“Tango was my first public sculpture, commissioned for the Liverpool Garden Festival in 1984 to celebrate the re-development of the Dock area.

“I had just started to make sculptures of cut-out paper that needed to be twisted and folded to give them structure.

“The sheet steel cut out sculptures are about the idea that there is no single view and that to see the volume of the figure you have to experience them in the round.”

The artist’s work has been celebrated by the Royal Academy of Arts in London who called it ‘celebratory, satirical and boldly inventive’ and credit him with being one of the few artists who ‘inflame debate’.

The sculpture is owned by Liverpool City Council and can be seen on Peter’s Lane.