Peter Liversidge: For They Know Not What They Do (4 stars)

The Ingleby Gallery, Edinburgh, Sat 12 May-Thu 21 Jun


The late German artist Martin Kippenberger famously said ‘a good artist has less time than ideas’. One imagines he would enjoy reading Peter Liversidge’s endless lists of exhibition proposals; last summer he displayed 103 of them at the Ingleby Gallery, most too ridiculous to materialise (including constructing a death slide from Edinburgh Castle to the Scott Monument).

He is back this summer showing drawings, paintings and installations. But more interestingly this exhibition runs concurrently with Liversidge’s solo show at Art Statements at Basel Art Fair in Switzerland, (Tue 12-Sun 17 Jun) and the two exhibitions have been linked. A dense Ingleby Gallery publication called ‘Fair Proposals’ presents all Liversidge’s performance ideas for Basel Art Fair, ranging from the preposterous to the banal. Ideas include gathering spiders together in a booth to let them weave webs in it, making bespoke beermats for Basel pubs advertising a fake beer called ‘Snozzelscholsschen’, and simply walking around the fair ‘in a bit of a daze’. Liversidge will send photographs of realised performances to the Ingleby Gallery, which will be framed and hung in the corridor.

Other works on display reveal diversity; in the front room small shiny paintings of the North Montana Plains are surrounded by makeshift carcasses made from gloss painted scrap wood, roughly constructed fences and a stuffed hawk perched atop peering at us with wonder. Next door framed drawings of well known logos such as BIC, Lacoste and BMW spread around the room, echoing the wispery lightness of all his other work. They are appealingly immediate displays, avoiding gravitas or virtuosity. Yet they hang in the shadow of his ‘Fair Proposals’, which, even as typed ideas have a subtle humour and quiet sarcasm which should resonate on a much more personal level with the viewer. (Rosie Lesso)

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