press release

The search for the prerequisites of human existence is characteristic of the video works of Peter Land (born in Aarhus, Denmark, in 1966). Aspects such as identity, meaninglessness or self-image are offen distorted by him to become grotesque images and caricatures, so as to be isolated and highlighted.

Peter Land is presenting three video installations in the Graphic Cabinet of the Vienna Secession: "Pink Space" from 1995 shows the artist as a "second-rate" entertainer mounting the stage with a glass of whisky in his hand and wearing a tastelese, blue sequin jacket and dickey bow. Not once does the entertainer manage to teil a joke or even introduce himself once he enters the spotlights - because he continually falls drunkenly from his stool. This process repeats itself in different variations to the accompaniment of trivial piano music, until the slapstick scene becomes both sad and depressing. This video work shows Peter Land in a specially conceived room with a pink carpet, stool, whisky bottle and pink posters that announce the unfortunate entertainer.

The artist presents himself in the video projection "Peter Land the 5th of May, 1994" perfomring an anything but graceful and rhythmical striptease in his own apartment. Accompanied by loud, nasty pop music, the artist moves intently, taking off his socks and trousers and occasionally putting on some other music. He sent 200 letters to his friends and relatives for the third work on show in the Vienna Secession and requested them to send him a written request, that they would either never have dared to ask to his face, or had not got round to asking him. Then Peter Land was confronted with a lie-detector from the Institute for Psychology in Copenhagen, that checked the truth of his answers to these questions. The video shown in the exhibition, finally, shows Peter Land's reactions during the investigation of the answers against the background of a blackboard with the diagram of a lie-detector. Also, Peter Land is showing a work consisting of 9 drawings telling a series of small stories about an idiot and the ordeals of his life.

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Peter Land