Peter Land’s (b. 1966) solo exhibition owes its title to the Danish artist’s eponymous installation: Springtime (2010) is a large pile of bricks from which an arm protrudes. Whether it concerns the limb of a person who has been buried alive and is crying for help, or rather, as the title suggests, a triumphant “Here I am again,” remains open. It is a two-facedness oscillating between tragedy and comedy, between a nightmare and a child’s game that traverses the artist’s entire oeuvre, frequently confronting us with extreme opposites. Land gained recognition in the mid 1990s with his simply produced videos—documentations of personal failure and excessive meaninglessness in which the artist is seen tumbling down an endless flight of stairs, repeatedly falling off a ladder while painting or sinking himself in a boot. If it was just about possible for us to emit a hearty laugh, the laughter already sticks in our craw in the next moment.
It is funny to watch an obviously drunken, nearly naked man dancing wildly in his own home. Particularly when the music puts you in such a good mood. But it is painful to watch this very same man constantly falling to the floor while doing so, and even attempting to take of his clothes in the process. This moment frequently appears in Land’s works—even more so in his videos than in his later paintings, drawings and installations—in which the mood or the entire situation literally shifts. Land thus performs the eternal struggle for balance and ultimately stability, its loss and the renewed search for it. Equilibrium is always a matter of seconds here.
Kunsthalle Düsseldorf presents a selection of Land’s early films and recent installations in a parcour reminiscent of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, with different-sized doors that lead nowhere and doorknobs that do not work. The boundaries between children’s games and nightmares are fluid in Peter Land’s work.
Curated by Elodie Evers
The exhibition is accompanied by a German/English publication published by Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König, featuring numerous colour illustrations and essays by Elodie Evers, Christoph Benjamin Schulz, and Jan Verwoert.
The edition “The Other Option” by Peter Land can be purchased on the occasion of the exhibition.