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

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