Critics’ Picks

Peter Lynen, Statik, 2011, stones, wood, oil paint, 69 x 36”.


Peter Lynen

White Trash Contemporary
Neue Burg 2
March 25–May 14

“Three Fridays,” Peter Lynen’s first solo exhibition at this gallery, furthers his unique exploration of the boundary and transition between image and sculpture. Lynen practices a kind of neo-Dada wherein the parameters of natural science, psychology, and aesthetics are continually tested. EXHIBITION AS APPARATUS is a telling phrase written on a piece of paper that is displayed on the windowsill as part of the installation, indicating that we can usefully read the show in terms of scientific experiments. Works such as the sculpture Weltmodell (World Model), 2009, and the photograph Übersichtliche Unendlichkeit (Surveyable Infinity), 2011, strike a philosophical tone, and even though the titles Statik (Static) and Test (both 2011) sound a little more straightforward, the images in these works also play with elementary physical formulas.

Absurdity and simplicity often appear related in this show. For the collage Statik, Lynen collected fist-size or bigger stones––washed by a river to smooth ovals––then painted them red, white, or black, and mounted them in minimal but significant arrangements on wood. The work truly arrests the force of gravity: One still notices the weight of the colorful altered stones, but one also perceives them as abstract images. Lynen executes yet another reversal, too: The lines that connect the stones appear to actually hold the objects, so that the second and third dimensions swap places for a moment in our perception. As a sculptor, Lynen uses science not so much for its theoretical aspects as for the rethinking of the qualities of form, material, and meaning that it makes possible. He thus practices a kind of clarification within the sensuous.

Translated from German by Diana Reese.