In his work, Peter Vahlefeld breaches new territory in exploring the tenuous relationship between the modes of analog and digital painting and the incongruities that are produced at their collision.One of his principal themes, which he endlessly cites and parodies yet reverses, is Modernism as an epochal style of art that permeates our culture from the corporate boardroom to the museum shop. His sources of inspiration come from omnipresent icons of the art market—the actual contemporary image economy, where the massive distribution of reproductions—whether of Andy Warhol or Jeff Koons is precisely what confers value.

There’s no field of contemporary culture Peter Vahlefeld does not use for his own purpose. Pages torn from international art magazines, fine art auction catalogues and museum catalogues. What interests him is printed matter as a raw material with traces of logos and an aura of propaganda culled from mass media. The paintings are clearly more than the sum of its parts; each piece blends disparate, often unrelated, elements of visual culture that find unity in their arrangement. An Andy Warhol advertisement for Christie´s superimposed upon an advertisement for a Joseph Beuys exhibition, superimposed on a Tiffany ad atop of an ad for a gallery advertising a Cy Twombly exhibition. Recognizable images are transformed by repetition or a simple colour shift and get further abstracted by layers of paint which add an unmistakeable layer of complexity to his compositions. He weaves images, patterns and paint into collage-like mashups on canvas, crossing and recrossing the line between abstraction and representation, also between painting and photography, analog and digital. With his impasto touches and dynamic use of colour, he creates a bold and kinetic re-imaging of commercial subject matter. The resultant images do not immediately reveal themselves, forcing the viewer to engage with the paintings on a level of continual discovery.

While Vahlefeld has often doubled elements in his paintings, the analog materiality of paint with the digital reproduction of it, thus fusing painting and printing, he has also, in recent canvases, begun to employ a sculptural take on photography by incorporating textiles. He explores the surface of the canvas by adding extraneous materials to build a greater visual impact, thereby enhancing the physical depth and personal expression of each work. The jaggedness of the brushstroke with its horizontal lines dripping into one another, the pooled acrylic medium and oil paint, and scraps of cloth embedded into the work itself, all recall Robert Rauschenberg’s combine paintings. An important aspect here is that the colour remains constant in the painting both as a material and as a representation of itself. Through the use of common technologies, such as the desktop computer, scanner, and printer, Peter Vahlefeld forges a seamless and eloquent synthesis of diverse mediums and movements within a technical and visual vocabulary that is insistently of our time.

Eichenstrasse 4
12435 Berlin

Peter Vahlefeld, Autoren und VG-Bild

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