Whitechapel Gallery presents ‘Notes on Protesting’, a new solo exhibition by British artist Peter Liversidge, inspired by ideas around demonstration and protest. The show is the result of a collaboration with groups of primary school children from east London, who worked with Liversidge to compose and write lyrics for protest songs, create choreography and design banners and placards.
Liversidge is a conceptual artist whose work combines elements of performance and documentation. The artist is interested in the processes of making artworks and the success or failure of an idea. A central aspect of every new work he creates is a typewritten ‘proposal’ relating to a specific site or commission. If a proposal reaches completion the results can range from painting, books and installations of found or made objects to solo performances and large scale participatory events.
A film of the performances taking place at the Whitechapel Gallery on May Day 2014 and on London’s South Bank shows the artist and sixty children aged 8 and 9 from Marion Richardson Primary School in Tower Hamlets in demonstration. The film work is displayed alongside hand painted banners and archive material.
For the project the artist held workshops over a 4 month period to encourage the children to express their views on community and the power of a collective voice. The songs included everything from a rally against homework and a dislike of tight fitting shoes to tales of the school playground and everyday life in east London. Documentation of the workshops, rehearsals and lyrics which included ‘Less trucks and cars / More chocolate bars!’ and ‘I Don’t Like Cooked Tomatoes’ are also featured in the display.
Liversidge has worked on a number of proposals for the Whitechapel Gallery in the past. For the 2013 exhibition ‘The Spirit of Utopia’ the artist staged a live stand-up comedy night open to the public, a fictitious exhibition archive and an event where ‘summer snow’ emitted from large snow machines, temporarily showering visitors and passers-by with flecks of white foam in the height of summer.
Peter Liversidge: ‘Notes on Protesting’ is on display in galleries 5 & 6, spaces dedicated to the Whitechapel Gallery’s work with schools and local communities. To coincide with the display the artist will re-stage the performance Notes on Protesting on May Day 2015 (Friday 1 May 2015) 12pm with pupils from Marion Richardson Primary School.
The artist was born in Lincoln, UK in 1973. He lives and works in London. He has worked with a diverse range of institutions, including Tate Liverpool (2008); the Centre d’art Santa Mònica, Barcelona (2008); Bloomberg SPACE, London (2009); The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh (2010); Whitechapel Gallery, London (2013); Tate Modern, London (2013); Tang Museum, Saratoga (2013/14); i8 Gallery, Reykjavik (2014); Printed Matter, New York (2014); Drawing Room, London (2014); The Mac, Belfast (2014); Matt’s Gallery, London (2014) and Basis, Frankfurt (2014/15). A monograph on Liversidge’s work, Selected Proposals, was published in August 2013.