and per se and is a rolling sequence of exhibitions where one work is paired with another for two weekly periods, across a stretch of 12 months.
From today Alexander Calder’s celebrated circus is joined by two new works by Peter Liversidge: a gilded mask and a group of small stone effigies.
There’s an inherent playfulness in the work of both artists, and a sense of the objects having emerged from their own materials; hand made from the most modest, everyday ingredients. Bits of wire and scraps of metal, card, wood and cloth in the characters of Le Grande Cirque Calder, stones and pebbles in Liversidge’s effigies, and whatever piece of card or wood or plastic comes to hand and suggests a face in the case of his gilded masks.
This pareidolic urge, the finding of faces in places where they maybe shouldn’t be, has been an undercurrent of Liversidge’s work over the past few years. He has described the stone sculptures as ‘a life-like representation, but an object in its own right, suggesting perhaps an effigy, or something that might be worshipped in other cultures’ whereas the masks are resonant of the kind of ceremonial masks found in ancient Inca and Pre-Columbian cultures, but with connotations of false representation, or concealment, and perhaps suggesting a very different sort of ritual. There’s a light-heartedness to both, but also an underlying seriousness that questions the ways in which humans see and depict themselves.
There’s also a somewhat obsessive approach on behalf of the artist: with one face leading to another and thence to another, the studio slowly filling with new inhabitants. Similarly, Calder’s cast of clowns and animals and acrobats grew and grew and by the end of his life had expanded to fill five suitcases, now in the collection of the New York’s Whitney Museum. Jean Painlevé’s 1955 film Le Grand Cirque Calder 1927 (43 mins) is the seminal recording of this extraordinary window into the artistic imagination.