Peter Friedl, Drawings (exhibition view, 20/10 – 16/11 2005, Erna Hécey Gallery)
22 September – 10 December 2005
Opening reception: Wednesday, 21 September 2005, 6-9 p.m.
Playgrounds 22 September – 15 October
Drawings 20 October – 16 November
Theory of Justice 19 November – 10 December
Erna Hécey Gallery is pleased to announce the opening of an exhibition of works by Peter Friedl.
Three consecutive presentations will show long-term projects such as Playgrounds (since 1995), Drawings (since 1964) and Theory of Justice (since 1992) questioning issues of genre, documentary aesthetics and other forms of narratives. Reconsidering the exhibition as a medium, each of the three projects will use the gallery space to display specific concepts and meanings.
Playgrounds consists of photos of public playgrounds from around the world taken by the artist since 1995; the form of the work is color slides in landscape format, arranged alphabetically according to the name of the place. An updated selection of 500 images — edited as a silent movie and transferred to DVD — will be shown in four kid's size projections.
"At first glance reminiscent of the anthropological projects of the first half of the twentieth century, Peter Friedl adopts a comparative approach, or at least his form of presentation suggests a kind of comparison: the quest for meaning at the intersection of repetition (image on image) and differentiation (the differences between the pictures)." *
Playgrounds is not an anthological, quantitative venture: the pictures shown in the series are as important as the pictures not shown or not existing which makes of it a study in narration.
Looking at children's playgrounds from an aesthetic perspective has nothing to do with expanding the concept of the playground. The project plays with the genre of conceptual photography and at the discursive level with more social history oriented global, design, and urbanism themes.
Commentary, discourse, and background information are, however, not initially visible but are first legible in the series. The world is viewed through the playground.
*Roger M. Buergel, "Peter Friedl: Playgrounds", in How do we want to be governed (Figure and Ground), exhibition catalogue, Miami Art Central (Miami 2004), p. 54
The second part of Peter Friedl's project trilogy deals with frames and the drawings within. In contrast to the horizontal image series of Playgrounds, there is an explicit verticality here to which the classical genre of musealizing biography and work in the medium of the exhibition owes its aesthetic defusal. Legible in strict chronology, the selection of drawings follows a timeline of four decades. The first sheet is a child's drawing by the artist from May 1964.
Many of Friedl's well known works are based on drawings and time shifts: some of his neon installations, such as Neue Straßenverkehrsordnung (on the origins of history painting from writing, on the example of the RAF) or Corrupting the Absolute (on the origins of design); and also the poster pictures Eishockey, 1968-2000 and Map, 1969-2005.
In contrast to these staged tableaus, the selection and presentation of framed drawings on paper seems to emphasize entirely an engagement with more fragile, unpolished things and their potentialities. Between idea and form there is space for the world and its various different signs.
Drawings instigates another kind of discussion on the conditions and experiences of a new politics of aesthetics.
Theory of Justice is an archive of newspaper pictures. The title refers to A Theory of Justice (1971) by John Rawls, a liberal revival of social contract theory. Friedl's archive proposes a new sort of pictorial justice in relation to originality, history and context.
This is the third solo exhibition of Peter Friedl (b. 1960) at Erna Hécey Gallery. Friedl's work has been exhibited worldwide including documenta X (1997), the 48th Venice Biennale, and the 3rd Berlin Biennial, and solo exhibitions at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague (1995), Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels (1998), Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, Berlin (1999), Neue Galerie am Landesmuseum Joanneum in Graz (1999), The Living Art Museum in Reykjavík (1999), Casino Luxembourg, Luxembourg (2001), Chisenhale Gallery, London (2001), Institut d'art contemporain, Lyon-Villeurbanne (2002), Institute for Contemporary Art, Cape Town (2002), Gesellschaft für Aktuelle Kunst, Bremen (2002). Recent solo projects include Four or Five Roses (2001-2004), Frankfurter Kunstverein, Frankfurt am Main, and Out of the Shadows (2004), Witte de With, center for contemporary art, Rotterdam.
A retrospective exhibition of the artist will be held at the MACBA in Barcelona from May to September, 2006.
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