Peter Liversidge was born in the United Kingdom in 1973. For the past decade, all of his work has started with the conceptually-based practice of creating proposals for performances and artworks across a wide expanse of mediums. Liversidge types these proposals on an old manual typewriter. Complete with typographical errors and hand annotations, the proposals describe ideas from the practical to the purely hypothetical, ranging from “I propose to paint the wall that the proposals are hung on a dark grey” to “I propose to dam the Thames and flood the City of London.”
Liversidge usually creates the proposals within a self-imposed timeline that is related to a forthcoming exhibition or project; many are site-specific. The resultant exhibition includes the manifestation of some of the ideas as well as the framed proposals, both realized and unrealized. The first object produced in any series is a book collating the entire set of proposals.
He draws inspiration not just from Conceptual artists such as On Kawara, Fischli and Weiss and Keith Arnatt, but also from artists such as Joseph Cornell and the Reverend Howard Finster, as well as inveterate tinkerers like his own grandfathers. Liversidge is driven by the generative notion of creativity and the idea that art is most successful when it exists slightly outside of formalist notions of fine art. To this end, the physical objects Liversidge produces often include banal, everyday materials that are repurposed or co-opted for his use. He believes that his work is universally accessible and, in fact, requires the presence of the viewer and their unique interpretation of the proposals to complete the aesthetic experience. The artist’s active engagement with each space and community for which he creates proposals is at the center of his varied and dynamic practice.
Peter Liversidge’s work has been exhibited at a diverse range of institutions across the globe, including the Tate Gallery, London; the Centre d’art Santa Mónica, Barcelona; Bloomberg SPACE, London; the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh; the Whitechapel Gallery, London; and at the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven. He has developed site-specific projects for the Europalia Festival in 2007, Tate Liverpool in 2008, Edinburgh’s sculpture park, Jupiter Artland, in 2009, The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh in 2010, the Armory Art Fair in 2011, and the Edinburgh Art Festival in 2013. In 2016, the Tate Gallery commissioned Liversidge to write a unique cycle of songs in response to the Tate Modern's new building, its history and its place in contemporary life. A choir of 500 people performed The Bridge (Choral Piece for Tate Modern) in the Tate’s Turbine Hall as the centerpiece of the opening weekend’s events.
Liversidge's first solo museum exhibition in the United States is currently on view (through February 5, 2017) at The Aldrich Museum in Ridgefield, Connecticut. Part of Site Lines: Four Exhibitions Engaging Place, Liversidge wrote sixty proposals for the exhibition, including performances and physical artworks across a variety of mediums, guided by the concept of connecting the interior of the Museum with both the surrounding landscape and the community. Of these, twenty-four were selected for realization and are being presented at the Museum and in the surrounding neighborhood.
Peter Liversidge lives and works in London, England.
Poetics of the Antarctica, Peter Liversidge, TEDxArchivorum, December 16, 2021
Peter Liversidge - Proposals, The Art Assignment, PBS Digital Studios, December 2, 2016
Peter Liversidge: The Bridge, a choral piece for 500 singers, which was commissioned for the opening weekend of the New building at Tate Modern, it was performed on Saturday 18th June at 5pm.
TED x Courtauld Institute of Art, "Utopia - Breaking the Rules," Peter Liversidge, March 10, 2016
Peter Liversidge, Notes on Protesting 2014 - 2015, April 16, 2015
The MAC Belfast, Peter Liversidge "Dopplegänger", August 11, 2014
Whitechapel Gallery, The Spirit of Utopia - Peter Liversidge, August 12, 2013