Peter Friedl, Documents

Erna Hecey Gallery, November 29, 2007

Erna Hecey Gallery is pleased to present a new exhibition by Berlin-based artist Peter Friedl.


The title, Documents, is an artifact in and of itself. Evidently, it is a reference to the famous magazine illustré published between 1929 and 1931, or rather, to its consecutively published critical dictionary, for which new contributions appeared in every issue (written by Georges Bataille, Carl Einstein, Marcel Griaule, Michel Leiris, and others). They not only used words to criticize things and conditions, but the things themselves, as fragmentary as they were, became material for a subversive view of the world and modernity.

The exhibition will present new works and seldom or never before exhibited older works by Peter Friedl, as documents: Objects and photos from the early 1990s, several of whose autobiographical motifs have a much longer history. Many of Friedl’s projects thematize lexical form principles and their ideological histories, such as Playgrounds (1995–2007), Theory of Justice (1992–2007), or his Cyprus project OUT OF THE SHADOWS (2004–06). As art historian Jean-François Chevrier states, “Friedl privileges the document over the monument, and the discontinuity of the documentary image over the continuity of monumental and picturesque history.”

Also included is Friedl’s most recent cinematic production, Liberty City, an homage to the community of Liberty City in Miami. In this short eyewitness video, based on the Arthur McDuffie incident in 1979, Friedl revises the racist dramaturgy of the historical event in a re-enactment with reversed roles. 


This is the fourth solo exhibition of Peter Friedl at Erna Hecey Gallery.


Peter Friedl’s work has been exhibited worldwide including documenta X (1997) and documenta 12 (2007), the 48th Venice Biennale (1999), and 2nd International Biennial of Contemporary Art in Seville (2006). He has held solo exhibitions at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague (1995); Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin (1996); LACE, Los Angeles (1998); Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels (1998); Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, Berlin (1999); Neue Galerie am Landesmuseum Joanneum, Graz (1999); Living Art Museum, Reykjavík (1999); Casino Luxembourg, Luxembourg (2001); Chisenhale Gallery, London (2001); Institut d’art contemporain, Villeurbanne-Lyon  (2002); Institute for Contemporary Art, Cape Town (2002); Gesellschaft für Aktuelle Kunst, Bremen (2002); Frankfurter Kunstverein, Frankfurt am Main (2004); Witte de With, center for contemporary art, Rotterdam (2004); Midway Contemporary Art, Minneapolis (2006).


In 2006, the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA) produced a retrospective exhibition that traveled to Miami Art Central/Miami Art Museum and [mac] Musée d’art contemporain in Marseille in 2007.

A new project by Peter Friedl will be presented at Kunsthalle Basel in January 2008.