Peter Liversidge and Fischli + Weiss
- Liz Shannon
- 22 May 2008
Ingleby Gallery, Edinburgh, Sat 31 May–Sat 7 Jun
PHOTOGRAPHY AND FILM
If you notice smoke coming out of Edinburgh’s Ingleby Gallery towards the end of the month, you should probably investigate before you phone the fire brigade: it might just be artist Peter Liversidge and his two industrial smoke machines.
‘The day before the opening we will be enacting a proposal I made: filling the entire building with smoke and photographing it as it dissolves away,’ says the artist. Given that Liversidge’s previous proposals have included using the gallery space to keep badgers, Ingleby’s staff may consider themselves to have got off lightly.
As part of the gallery’s unfailingly inventive series of short exhibitions celebrating their tenth anniversary, Liversidge has chosen to pair his work with two films by Swiss artists Fischli + Weiss. ‘I’d seen their piece, “The Way Things Go”, and I just thought it was amazing work for two grown men to make,’ he says. ‘It’s serious, but they don’t take themselves too seriously. I admire their humour.’ Fischli + Weiss’ films ‘The Right Way’ and ‘The Point of Least Resistance’, featuring the artists dressed as a rat and a bear, will be shown alongside Liversidge’s work, highlighting the duo’s influence on his practice. ‘They’d been making work that I’ve always been aware of, so the pairing feels comfortable – there’s an affinity there.’
Liversidge’s contribution to the exhibition will include photographic documentation of his smoke proposal, alongside a new photographic series, ‘Zoo Polaroids (Barcelona)’. ‘I’m not one of those people that thinks that zoos are necessarily bad things,’ he says. ‘Some animals only exist in zoos these days.’ The Polaroids play on the uncontrollable aspects of photography, particularly in relation to capturing images of animals. Between pressing the button and the shutter snapping, there is an uncontrollable moment during which the subject can move or the light might change, turning a successful image into a not-so-successful one. ‘Out of 180 photographs, there were probably between 70 and 90 that were successful – it’s all down to calculated chance.’ Unlike reproducible photographic images, each Polaroid is a one-off – just like the moment that Liversidge has attempted to capture.