Andrew Kreps Gallery is pleased to present Umschläge, Peter Piller’s second solo exhibition at the gallery.
Translated as “covers”, the title of the show refers to one of two bodies of work in this exhibition comprised of the pairing of the front and back images of the East German military magazine Armeerundschau which always featured armored vehicles on the front and pin-up girls on the back. Piller has been working with found images for over 20 years and has created and worked with the archive as medium –and the re-interpretation and the re-presentation of images already published in other contexts. By gathering and re-presenting seemingly innocuous images – images that we are presented with everyday in newspapers, magazines, advertisements and the internet – into groups, Piller brings forth some of the sinister, comedic, and sometimes tragic aspects of these images wholly projected by the viewer themselves.
A second group of works, Noch Sturm (Still Storming), juxtaposes images of World War I battlefields from found German postcards and images of seascapes from a 1920’s geography textbook. The landscape photographs – documents of humanity‘s excesses of destruction – and the images of the forces of nature create a visual parallel of chaos and violence. In relation to the art historical genre of battle paintings, both on land and at sea, Piller depicts the locations of violent conflicts as empty stages left behind by the actors.
Peter Piller has been working on his Archiv Peter Piller since 1998: an ongoing archive of . In his artistic work to date, in addition to the images from regional newspapers, he has also utilized the photographs of a commercial aerial photography archive, images from the internet as well as an insurance group‘s photographic documentation of damage claims. He then subsequently transfers this diverse material into his own ordering systems such as schießende Mädchen (Girls Shooting), Suchende Polizisten (Police Searching), Tanz vor Logo (Dancing in Front of Logos). With precise observation and a subtle sense of humor, Piller reflects upon media images‘ potential and the possibilities and limits of photographic and conceptual art.
Piller has published his ten-volume set of artist‘s books of the Archive Peter Piller as well as other artist‘s books and catalogues at Revolver Publishing by VVV. Solo exhibitions include those at the Museum für Gegenwartskunst Siegen (2003), the Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art Rotterdam (2005/06), the Kunsthaus Glarus (2007), the Salzburger Kunstverein (2007), the Kunstmuseum Bonn (2009) and the Kunstverein Braunschweig (2011), among others.