Entrenched in a Dadaist slipstream of playful bemusement, Swiss-born, Swedish-based artist Frei is usually as mad, bad and fun as a bag of rainbow painted spiders. His contrived installations, which have graced cutting edge galleries in Paris, New York and St Gallen in Switzerland balance the pop art/public art fundamentalism of Claes Oldenburg’s best work and the harder conceptionalism of Rachel Whiteread with a sloppier art education vibe. Misconstruction and subversion are his currency, so when his work takes on philosophical cohesion, he’s the one who moves the goalposts.
All of which is normally very exciting. Unfortunately this small selection of Frei’s work (which is also available for sale) has all the sagacity of a degree show created in a last minute overnight session.
The main piece – some hung and bolted lengths of maple plywood which have been scaled up to look like some kind of mad geometric square has all the resonance of the Channel 4 landscape logo, while the four collages and drawings are inept to the point of banality. This is the kind of grubby display of pop philosophical nonsense that the tabloid press like to get on their high horse about. Sadly this forgettable show may not even warrant that kind of attention.
Ingleby Gallery, Edinburgh, until Thu 29 Jan