Peter Piller

Peter Piller

Fotomuseum Winterthur

Peter Piller, from “Shooting Girls,” 2000–05. Courtesy Capitain Petzel, Berlin. © Peter Piller/2014 Pro Litteris, Zurich.

December 8, 2014

Peter Piller
Document Control

13 December 2014–22 February 2015

Fotomuseum Winterthur
Grüzenstrasse 44 + 45
CH-8400 Winterthur
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 11–18h, 
Wednesday 11–20h

T +41 52 234 10 60
T +41 52 234 10 34
F + 41 52 233 60 97
fotomuseum [​at​]

In the mid-1990s the German artist Peter Piller worked at a Hamburg press agency while studying art. His job was to collect clippings and monitor where and how the paid ads of regional advertising clients and companies actually appeared in print. Like Richard Prince during his job at the Time Life Company (which provided the source of inspiration for his now world-famous “Cowboys” series), Peter Piller discovered particular photographs while daily surveying the press, which he then set aside and organized into categories, such as “Auto Berühren” (Touching Car), “Noch ist nichts zu sehen (Bauerwartungsflächen)” (Nothing Yet to Be Seen (Prospective Building Sites), and “Schiessende Mädchen” (Shooting Girls). Over the years he compiled these images into his Archive Peter Piller, now comprising over 7,000 images, which the artist continues to investigate by sorting and arranging the images into different thematic series. With the exhibition Document Control, the Fotomuseum Winterthur offers a look into this extensive archive.

In Piller’s work the relationship between image and text is an important criteria for the classification of photographs. Where others might not notice anything particular, through repeated, concentrated observation the artist has developed a delicate sensibility that allows him to discern the hidden qualities of photographs taken for ordinary purposes. Arranged in groups and coded by titles, the found or assembled visual material is thus placed in a different context; Piller thus brings the images into a different artistic order. For example, “Von Erde schöner” (More Beautiful from Earth) is a large installation including countless images from an archive of aerial photographs of private homes taken in the 1980s; “Nimmt Schaden” (Suffer Damages) stems from the digital photo archive of a Swiss insurance company and is a quiet ode to the unknown photographer. With his “Peripheriewanderungen” (Periphery Walks) and the series “Kraft” (Power) and “Schlaf” (Sleep) we also discover something about Piller as a photographer. Also in this latter context, the artist focuses on the realm of everyday life, lending our profane activities and rituals a humorous dimension through his perceptions. 

The opening will take place on December 12, 6pm.
Accompanying event: artist talk with Peter Piller and Thomas Seelig, December 14, 11:30am.


Peter Piller at Fotomuseum Winterthur
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December 8, 2014

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