About the work

PETER LAND

ABOUT THE WORK


   PETER LAND
     Pink Space, 1995
Sculpture/installation
Rug 150 cm x 150 cm, plus variable
dimensions
The video installation Pink Space utilises an accessible and readily understandable imagery. The work’s simplicity, repetitive structure and focus on the recognisable character of the entertainer enable us as viewers to identify with his failed attempts at mastering the situation and gaining control of his performance.

THE ARTIST AS CLOWN
Pink Space explores the modern artist role. Pivotal to the work is the notion of the artist as entertainer, and it thus criticises the relationship between artistic content and superficial entertainment. The entertainer, making his living from amusing the audience with a bank of scripted jokes, is portrayed as a failed clown. Thus the work demonstrates how the staged and rehearsed comedy quickly may be replaced by the unintentionally comic. In Pink Space then, Land depicts the art world as a great scene where the creative artist is turned into a clumsy and hopeless performer. He points at the artist’s – and at art’s – generally transformed function which in our modern experience society at times seems to have changed from a critical attitude to pure entertainment.

ABSURDITY AS BASIC PRINCIPLE
Pink Space contains a more universal level of meaning as well. The work deals with modern man’s conditions for living, with life’s fundamental absurdity and the daily attempt at filling the void. In this manner the work centres on incompetence and inadequacy as basic human forms of experience.

Peter Land’s art in general
Land moves freely between video, photo, performance and installation works and more traditional types of work in drawing, gouache and oil paint. In the various media he stages a tragicomic male figure, modelled on the artist’s own body or simply played by Land. Consistently the works are executed with an evident reference to the artist himself, in that Land appears in different but always immediately recognisable characters in the bulk of his pieces. Common to the works is also the depicted male figure’s lack of command of the situation. Thus the inadequacy and the fundamental lack of control are recurrent features in Land’s works.

THE PSYCHOLOGY OF LAUGHTER
Land’s art draws on banal slapstick humour. Initially the characters in his works make the audience laugh. However, usually the laughter dies down the longer time we spend contemplating the work. Suddenly we begin to feel empathy towards the unfortunate entertainer, we are embarrassed by his constant self-abasement or an unpleasant notion sneaks up on us that the situation taking place before us merely is an image of life’s fundamental absurdity. This exploration of comedy’s effects through repetition and displacement is a central element in several of Land’s videos.

Land’s videos are not structured as progressive narratives but are based on a principle of repetition. Thus they impose a certain narrative tempo on the viewer and a certain temporal duration which forces us to experience various emotional reactions. Land deliberately tries to erode our patience, to provoke a change: The initial reaction is the liberating laughter – which the comedic aspects of his performances appeal to. This gives way to the more disquieting and transgressing feeling of witnessing the artist offering himself up for ridicule, an insistent display of self-abasement, loss of control and masochistic exhibitionism.

Arken
DK-2635 Ishøj
Tel: (+45) 43 54 02 22
Skovvej 100
Opening hours
Tuesday-Sunday: 10-17
Wednesday: 10-21
Monday: Closed
Admission fees
Adults: 50 kr.
Groups: 50 kr.
Pensioniers: 50 kr.
Students: 50 kr.
Children under 18: Free
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