new-york

Peter Wächtler, Untitled, 2013, still from the 14-minute, color, HD video component of a mixed-media installation additionally comprising an ink-and-color-pencil drawing on Xerox.

Peter Wächtler

MINI/Goethe-Institut Curatorial Residencies Ludlow 38

Peter Wächtler, Untitled, 2013, still from the 14-minute, color, HD video component of a mixed-media installation additionally comprising an ink-and-color-pencil drawing on Xerox.

How do we describe our everyday existence? Colloquially, we might cheekily use the term rat race. In his first US exhibition, “B.A.C.K.,” German-born, Brussels-based artist Peter Wächtler seemed to take up this idiom, presenting a cartoon that addresses the nuanced emotions that shade the experience of daily life and stars a beleaguered, vest-wearing rodent. Untitled, 2013, smartly encodes quotidian routine and the slippages therein with a recursive structure—time may progress, but outfits and countenances don’t.

Set in a stone chambre de bonne with peeling wallpaper and warping floorboards—a red Oriental carpet and a tossed-aside liquor bottle serve as lifestyle indicators—the animation shows the stuporous protagonist vacantly performing his everyday “leisure time.” In a sequence about one minute long, the rat lumbers home at night, trips on his rug, and dislodges

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