Phenotype Genotype (phg) (4 stars)

This article is from 2012

Phenotype Genotype (phg)

Treasure trove of avant garde works

There is no more perfect show to illustrate where Summerhall has come from than this vast display of avant-garde detritus culled from the even vaster archive of the Edinburgh-based Heart Fine Art set-up. From John and Yoko to Gilbert and George to Jake and Dinos Chapman, everybody’s here in an eminently tactile but tantalisingly untouchable display of all the abstract art-stars that made the 20th century. Books, badges, manifestos, pamphlets, calling cards, provocations, an inevitable first edition of Guy Debord’s La Société du spectacle, a Warhol print and a Fluxus game by George Brecht are all in the frame in this gloriously jumbled-up and refreshingly non-digital display of parallel universe memorabilia.

Seen together, it’s as obsessive a collection as the artists it gathers for a fantasy salon that the Swiss cheese of the original Cabaret Voltaire Dadaist boys club in Zurich could only wet-dream of. If seeing the words ‘KILL THE POP ART!’ is contrary given the context, the legend ‘Fuck Joseph Beuys’ is just asking for trouble in a cabinet of curiosities that presents a crucial alternative art history treasure trove.

Summerhall, 560 1590, until 27 Sep, free.

Phenotype Genotype (PhG)

  • 4 stars

A phenotype, fact fans, is the physical embodiment of an organism's observable characteristics; a genotype is the set of inherited instructions which, interacting with the environment, causes the phenotype to turn out the way it does. What it has to do with this exhibition of avant-garde art from 1900 to the present day…