January 19, 2007 - mac musée d'art contemporain de Marseille - Peter Friedl: Work 1964-2006
January 19, 2007

Playgrounds, Platja de la Nova Icaria, Barcelona, 2005
Courtesy Galerie Erna Hecey, Brussels 

Peter Friedl: Work 1964-2006
A Retrospective Exhibition
January 20-April 15, 2007 

Miami, Florida MAC @ MAM is pleased to present Peter Friedl: Work 1964-2006. Conceived as a retrospective, this exhibition functions as a “medium,” emphasizing the museum display as an instrument. Curated by Bartomeu Marí, from the Museu dArt Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA), Peter Friedl: Work 1964-2006 will be on view at Miami Art Central from January 20 through April 15, 2007.

Peter Friedl (born in Austria, 1960) has made a steady incision in the methods and conventions of contemporary art. After publishing reviews and essays on contemporary theater for a few years, Friedl turned to his own artistic production in the 1980s. Presented today in the form of a retrospective, Friedls workconsistently heterogeneous in classical terms of medium, style, and meaninghighlights political awareness, autobiography, permanent displacement, design interventions, potential counter-imagery, and the reinvention of genres left over from the history of Modernism. His exhibition presents aesthetic models for disarming configurations of power.

The exhibition Peter Friedl: Work 19642006 problematizes the genre of retrospective, that is, the placement of a body of art work within the framework of institutional logics (the museum) and within the context of its own history. With only very few exceptions, the installations in this exhibition are not re-staged in their original form or in separate spaces, but instead are edited and exhibited together, nearly as documents. In addition, the exhibition brings together a vast selection of drawings on paper, presented chronologically, from Friedls earliest artistic production to the present.

These drawings offer a glimpse of formal elements (handwriting, motifs, colors) and content (historical references, signs, symbols) that often reappear in other works and projects: the poster-piece Map (19692005) is based on an early drawing from 1969 that assigned the names of Native American peoples to the territory of the United States. In Neue Strassenverkehrsordnung (New Traffic Code, 2000), Friedl uses neon to recreate a motif from1995 in large scale.

Started in 1995, Playgrounds takes the form of an ongoing anthological project. It currently comprises a selection of 600 color slides arranged for various digital wall projections in kid-sized formats. The picturesall in landscape format and taken by the artistshow public playgrounds around the world. Playgrounds deals with an urban typology of modernist planning, which can be seen today as a remnant of twentieth-century utopias. It plays with the genre of conceptual and documentary photography, as well as with the representation of childhood, a theme that is also present in other works, such as Snjókarl (Snowman, 1999) or the book project Four or Five Roses (200104), which contains childrens monologues recorded in various cities and townships throughout South Africa.

A singular form of visual and auditory contemplation characterizes the video installation King Kong (2001). Again, the site of action is South AfricaTriomf Park, located in Sophiatown, on the outskirts of Johannesburg. The film mimics a video clip, featuring American songwriter Daniel Johnston against the backdrop of apartheid history. The artist creates a temporary, freed, epic zone where the big story and many little stories come together.

In the form of conceptual aesthetic acts, and based on exemplary brief actions, video works such as Dummy (1997) and Tiger oder Löwe (Tiger or Lion, 2000) investigate how art history and social history function. The computer animation No Photography (2004) comes from the larger project OUT OF THE SHADOWS, in which Friedl used the example of Cyprus to mirror the construction of history and of concepts in an aesthetic of division and borders.

In the 1990s, Friedl created numerous public art projects with the intention of reassessing the borders of that genre. These types of complex projects present a challenge for a museum. Nothing can stop us (1999), for instance, was probably the only car garage in Venice, installed on the occasion of the 48th Biennale in front of the Austrian pavilion. The title is a quote of an imperialistic U.S. slogan of the 1930s, but also the title of a political pop album of 1982 by English musician Robert Wyatt. In place of the usual documentary displays, projects such as this are exhibited as separately designed, enlarged catalogue pages on the wall in poster form. Also included, as supplement and complement to the global anthropology of Friedls Playgrounds, is a homage to the more than 700 childrens playgrounds that Dutch architect Aldo van Eyck designed for Amsterdam between 1947 and 1978.

Another long-term project, Theory of Justice, is presented as both an extensive installation and an artists book published by the museum. The title refers to the attempt at renewing social contract theory undertaken by the U.S. philosopher John Rawls (19212002). Friedls project, begun in 1992, is based on the collection and selection of newspaper and magazine images, which are displayed in specially designed showcases.

What interests me about a new concept of genre is how it can create a difference to the old politics of identity. It offers the freedom to look at things more differently, which becomes again interesting in a political and aesthetic prospect. Things become a little strange if their relative autonomy is enforced. –Peter Friedl

About the Exhibition
On view: January 20 April 15, 2007 at Miami Art Central.
Opening reception: Friday, January 19th, from 7:00 to 10:00 pm.
Please RSVP via e-mail to rsvp@miamiartcentral.org or by phone 305.455.3336.

This exhibition is produced by the Museu dArt Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA), Spain.

MAC @ MAMs presentation of this exhibition is sponsored by the Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation.
Exhibition Catalogue and Brochure Peter Friedl: Work 1964-2006 is accompanied by a fully illustrated, 370-color page catalogue featuring a large selection of the artists writings, along with essays by Mieke Bal, Roger M. Buergel, Norman M. Klein, and Bartomeu Marí, and a conversation with Jean-Pierre Rehm.

Visitors to the show are provided with a variety of education materials, including a free, illustrated brochure designed to provide information concerning the exhibition and its related programs and events.

The catalogue and exhibition and programs brochure are available in the admissions desk.

MIAMI ART CENTRAL, 5960 SW 57 Avenue, Miami, FL 33143
For more information please call 305.455.3333 or visit www.miamiartcentral.org
Tuesday-Sunday 12-7 pm

Media Contact: Andrea Navarro


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