Artwork of the month July

Dan Peterman, Untitled, 1997

Dan Peterman

* 1960 in Minneapolis, USA lives and works in Chicago, USA

Untitled, 1997

Recycled plastic, 121 parts
Pile length, 141cm each

The material description 'recycled plastic' supplies an important key to understanding Dan Peterman's work Untitled. Plastic can be recycled, as too can car tyres, aluminium cans, paper of course, and even kitchen waste can be transformed back into a useful raw material. From old to new: does this also apply to art? Is art itself recyclable, can its starting materials be turned into something else or reused?

In the late 1950s and 1960s, lowbrow paintings – landscapes, portraits, erotic kitsch – often found at flea markets or in attics were used by artists for reworkings. They ironised the composition and content of the earlier painting, while also investigating the aspect of reusing or even upgrading at an intellectual, formal and material level contained in this kind of process. Nonetheless, at that time the ecological aspect of reusing or reworking art was not yet definitive. A generation later this changed completely, as one can observe in the works of the American artist Dan Peterman.

Peterman works at the interface between art and ecology. The appreciation and utilisation of simple or even discarded materials is a theme that runs throughout his oeuvre. Untitled consists of 121 piles made of recycled plastic, which can be installed in various formations. As a basic architectonic element, the piles here do not serve as a support for structural substance, but instead become the material of constantly changing art constructions. Completely in line with the idea of recycling, here discarded refuse is integrated as a reused plastic into a new cycle: the system of art. The potential to exhibit the work time and again in new constellations also holds in itself the ecological notions of processual transformation and renewal. At the same time Dan Peterman suggests that by re-using garbage that is being continually made, production of the work could in theory continue indefinitely.

Kristin Schmidt | Denise Rigaud

<b>Dan Peterman, Untitled, 1997</b>
Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein highlights a work from the permanent collection each month throughout the year. Works from the collection of the Hilti Art Foundation are also included in this series on a regular basis.