On the occasion of photo+, SETAREH X is pleased to present the first solo exhibition with Peter Miller. In his conceptual and at the same time playful approach, Peter Miller explores the conditions and possibilities of photography. The objects, installations and wall pieces shown for the first time in the exhibition reflect in a pointed and humorous way the manifestations of the medium, its physical-chemical foundations, the analogue and digital processes connected with it, as well as its imaging and meaningful function.
In this sense, the exhibition title Fuck it, Photography! is a defiant appeal to the artistic potential of photography and its forms of representation, constantly to be fathomed anew.
In the window of the gallery hangs–as one would not necessarily expect from an art gallery–a colourful oriental carpet visible to the outside. This is not just any woven piece, but a replica of the famous couch carpet from Sigmund Freud's psychoanalytic practice. The original of this carpet, of which Peter Miller had a blanket made from a photograph, can still be found in the Freud Museum in London. What Freud's patients used to lie on is now potentially used for dreaming. In the multiple transfers from fabric to photograph to fabric, the knot patterns, already slightly reminiscent of digital grids in the original, have transitioned into even more schematic structures that almost seem like digital pixilation in Freud's Blinky.
Through another gallery window to the street, we see–in turn, as expected for a photo exhibition–a black-and-white silver gelatin print showing the exterior of a Parisian dry cleaner. The lettering 'O'PRESSING', which directly catches the eye, actually denotes dry cleaners in France. Literally translated as 'oppressive,' it takes on an inevitably funny and at the same time 'depressing' connotation and reading–for Peter Miller an allegory of current photography, which he perceives as being in a kind of crisis.
Following the textile thread, a clothes rail crosses the centre of the gallery space, on which fourteen shirts are hung one after the other in a row. On the breast pocket of the first shirt a small blue spot can be seen, which increases from shirt to shirt and towards the end of the row also encloses the backs of the shirts in an increasingly circular shape, until the last shirt is completely dyed blue. If you are now wondering what this row of shirts, entitled The Semester, has to do with photography, you will be surprised to discover that it is a cyanotype process. In fact, Peter Miller wore all of these shirts, including an inserted pen, one after the other during the sessions of one of his seminars at the Folkwang University of the Arts Essen. During this performance, which lasted for an entire semester, he consistently concealed the photographic process on which the coloration of his shirts was based. In this way, he gave his students a humorous as well as enigmatic, and in the end also illuminating, thought-provoking impulse regarding the potential of photography.
In the two works Songs of the Sky 1 & 2, which consist of torn colour photographs of cloud formations and suggest landscapes, mountains, or wave formations in an almost impressionistic manner, Miller continues his open attitude toward the photographic image medium de-constructed in this way.
His work NF2 (not for two) consists of a colour scan printed on canvas, once again resembling a carpet pattern, along with an accompanying colour scanner on which a Bayer matrix has been applied with acrylic paint blobs and pressed shut with the lid. The single owner of this work is thus exclusively enabled to make further prints of the colour grid–an ironic commentary on the current hype of unique digital works.
The work HiQHaiku, installed in a corner of the gallery space like a paravent, consists of five silhouettes cut out of canvas fabric, on which self-composed poems in the verse meter of Japanese haikus are fixed with the help of cyanotype1. The content of these verses links the desire to fix light associated with the invention of photography with the human need for vitamin D to feel happy–making the vitamin D deficiency seem like a photographic problem in a metaphorical sense. The fact that the artist, who in another work presents himself as a self-photographing 'Jongleur', developed the text of his figures of thought under the tanning bed underscores his uncompromising search for new ways and possibilities of photography.
Press release courtesy SETAREH X.