Tony Phillips '20th Century
Chapel' Exhibition

Now Available For Viewing 

Location: St Luke's Bombed Out Church 

Opening Times: Thursday-Sunday 12:00 -18:00pm 

20th Century Chapel

This exhibition is part of public art trail, 'Above us only sky?', now available for viewing across Liverpool City Centre.

Donations will be taken on the door of the Bombed Out Church to continue the upkeep of the building and fund future artistic and community projects. 

'20th Century Chapel' 

'The idea started with the installation of Temple to the Sacred Automobile in 2010, which was a comment upon how modern society has become dependent upon the motor car, which in turn has become an object of adoration.

In 2019 I discussed the idea of turning the whole space into an

artwork dedicated to Man's endeavours over the past 120 years – extending the comment beyond the motorcar to include all inventions, political ideals and cultural phenomena – in short, the idea of human 'progress'.


A church partly ruined by aerial bombardment of WWII became a significant site for making a comment on the tragedy of progress in the modern age. Moreover, the tradition of art decorating places of worship allowed me to pursue an artform – fresco wall-painting – which was the ideal format for illustrating the history of the last 120 years, converting the mural painting into a collection of sacred narratives and icons which ironically celebrate human achievements as diverse as Coca Cola and the atom bomb.   

Screen Shot 2022-04-12 at 14.32.56.png
Screen Shot 2022-04-12 at 14.32.49.png

This converting of our recent history into something that  - like the church – is a remnant of a ' by-gone civilisation ', helps us to get an objective idea of who we are as a species – detached as it were from the remarkable phenomena of the 20th century. At the heart of this story is the dichotomy between the achievement of flight (1903) and the destructive power of airborn warfare, evinced so clearly by the ruins of St.Luke's.


This prompted me to create a Trail of images (painted plaques) through the streets of Liverpool which charts the history of aircraft, from the first powered flight to the modern drones of today. The Trail starts at the Bluecoat and leads up  Bold street to St.Luke's – at which point it is represented by a plaque of WWII bombers. It continues back to the Bluecoat via Ropewalks area.  


Thus, an important Liverpool art institution and an important memorial building and community venue are linked in one Art Trail, in which St.Luke's itself becomes the living testimony of the story told in the plaques.   

I wish to thank all those who have supported the project at St.Luke's from 2010, The Bluecoat, Frensons Ltd, and Arts Council of England.

Tony Phillips'