Peter Land

Peter Land

Self-Portrait as a Homeless

“It’s a little like rehearsing death to see oneself lying there like this.” Watch Danish artist Peter Land discuss his powerful surreal piece, which features a lifelike one-to-one cast of himself as a homeless wearing his own clothes.

Seeing the realistic figure for the first time was a unique experience for the artist, as it forced him to confront his own angst and fear, partly brought on by the financial crisis of 2008: “The fear of falling through the social network. Ending up in a situation where you’re suddenly sleeping in cardboard boxes under a bridge.” Land furthermore compares the piece to a game, such as Monopoly: “It’s called ‘Back to Square One’, which is what may happen to you in various games… So the function of the boxes is both to serve as a kind of homeless architecture but also to be the spaces on the game board, where you can return to your nest or move with your piece or car… until, hopefully, you’ve won the game.” The figure, however, is stretched grotesquely, reflecting “the idea that you can twist and turn as much as you want and bend over backwards, so to speak… Whatever you do, this is where you’ll end up.”

“Any kind of interesting work of art is not unambiguous.” Though the figure resembles him, Land wants it to be much more universal: “So while it’s a self-portrait, it actually could be anybody lying there.” In continuation of this, watching this type of hyper realistic figure also compels the viewers to contemplate the work, the museum and even themselves in a different way than “when you’re looking at a classical, modernistic sculpture that only talks about itself as art.”

Peter Land (b. 1966) is a Danish artist, who works with videos, sculptures, photography and installations. Often using his own body as subject, Land explores the surreal and the grotesque, such as in ‘Joie de Vivre’ (1998), where Land’s head bounces around two screens, laughing and contorting on loop. This kind of self-disclosure, sense of absurdity and dark humour is at the centre of Land’s work, where he exposes not only himself but also the viewer through the act of recognition. For more see: http://www.peterland.dk/

Peter Land was interviewed by Christian Lund at Arken Museum of Modern Art in Ishøj, Denmark in March 2017 in connection to the exhibition ‘Gosh! Is It Alive?’. In the interview, Land discusses the piece ‘Back to Square One’ (2015), which is a part of the exhibition. For more see: http://uk.arken.dk/exhibition/coming-up-shudder-is-it-alive/

Camera: Rasmus Quistgaard
Edited by: Klaus Elmer
Produced by: Christian Lund
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2017

Supported by Nordea-fonden

  • Jørgen Leth & Alex Da Corte

    The Perfect Monster

    Watch the celebrated Danish poet and film director, Jørgen Leth (b. 1937), and a sparkling star on the art scene, Alex Da Corte (b. 1980), talk about the latter’s shot-for-shot remake of – and homage to – Leth’s iconic film ‘The Perfect Human’.

  • Riad Sattouf

    Advice to Young Cartoonists

    Watch the acclaimed cartoonist Riad Sattouf draw while sharing his advice for colleagues: “Be careful with advice, it’s not always good. Find your own way of expressing yourself, everything is acceptable, there’s no one good way to draw or not draw.”

  • Jean-Marc Bustamante

    The Notion of Landscape

    “I think art is not very useful, it’s a question of what you feel.” Watch the acclaimed French artist and photographer Jean-Marc Bustamante, who merges photography and painting, and whose starting point is always the concept of landscape.

  • John Giorno

    A Visit to the Poet

    “Poetry never dies. You can’t kill poetry.” We called on John Giorno – one of the most influential figures in contemporary performance poetry – in his legendary home on the Bowery in New York, to talk about the innate freedom and possibilities of poetry.

  • John Giorno

    Inside William Burroughs' Bunker

    Step inside ‘The Bunker’ in New York, the windowless former apartment of legendary writer William S. Burroughs, and let yourself be guided around – from Burroughs’ typewriter to his shooting target – by its current resident, iconic poet John Giorno.

  • Colson Whitehead

    I Have to Know the Destination

    “I became a writer once I realised no one liked my stuff.” Watch Barack Obama and Oprah Winfrey’s favourite author, Pulitzer Prize-winning Colson Whitehead, on how rejections of his first stab at a novel made him realize that he wanted to pursue writing.

  • Marina Abramović & Ulay

    A Living Door of the Museum

    Standing naked in the main entrance of a museum, facing each other while the audience passes sideways through the small space. Legendary performance artists Marina Abramović and Ulay share the story behind their poetic work ‘Imponderabilia’.

  • Wang Shu

    Architecture is a Job for God

    The Chinese architect Wang Shu’s buildings – a crossover between traditional Chinese culture and large-scale modern architecture – have earned him prestigious awards. “Democracy means a really diverse society,” says the architect in this inspiring interview.

  • Margrethe Odgaard

    Colour Diary of New York

    Becoming more aware of your surroundings can “open a new dimension inside as well as outside yourself.” Meet award-winning Danish designer Margrethe Odgaard who has trained herself to register the world through colours.

  • Nick Cave

    The World is my Skin

    Have you ever wished that you could put on a suit which would open up the imagination and take you to the world of your dreams? In this video artist Nick Cave presents his wearable sculptures, the 'Soundsuits', made from discarded everyday materials.

  • Gerhard Richter

    In Art We Find Beauty and Comfort

    “I don’t really believe art has power. But it does have value. Those who take an interest in it find solace in art. It gives them huge comfort.” Gerhard Richter, one of the greatest painters of our time, discusses beauty in the era of the internet.

  • 11 Artists

    First Encounter with Art

    “That was the beginning of my film and photography career – my first image ended up under the Russian soldier’s boot.” Watch Jonas Mekas, Laurie Anderson, Paul Auster, Gerhard Richter and 7 other acclaimed artists on how they began their career.