Peter Neuchs — Brief Encounters
Past: October 31 → December 6, 2014
Introduction to the artwork
Peter Neuchs explores through his works the density of everyday life. The most insignificant scenes take on a spectacular dimension in his large-format photographs. His “stolen” snapshots made with a mobile phone seem to deliver enigmatic fragments of a story that is yet to be deciphered and his watercolors with latent symbolism transform the banal in a suspenseful narration. Some topics are recurrent in Peter Neuchs’ work. First there are women: he paints them alone in their bathroom, has photographed and drawn naked body parts, series of stomachs, bosoms, legs; capturing them in moments of absence, in front of a window, with their child or diving in the water. There are also landscapes, sublime in the meaning the Romantics gave to the word- this “pleasing feeling of horror” in the face of the immensity and the power of nature or, on the contrary, in front of the fragility and fugacity of a snowdrop. And finally the mysterious interiors- private setting or places of worship- where shadow and light reveal and hide. The notion of memento mori is very present; the here and elsewhere meet and merge in this enigmatic work, that continuously escapes any defining… Peter Neuchs’ entire work is marked by a questioning of Man’s relationship to the spiritual, to time passing, to the precariousness of Man’s being, to Nature. But the artist’s answers remain suggestions that leave the spectator to his own interpretation.
In 1945, David Lean’s film Brief Encounter opens on a conversation scene at a station buffet. Whereas the camera explores the tables, a couple comes out of the ensemble: they are the principal characters who are living in this trivial scenery, the premises of a sentimental drama about to occur. Here one finds the power of the unsaid, of the suggestion, that characterizes Peter Neuchs’ work. It is in the banality of places he goes to everyday or that he passes by while travelling that Peter Neuchs captures theses brief encounters where a breach opens up; these fleeting moments of lucidity where the beauty and the intensity of life emerge from the everyday life. The exhibition brings together several novel series that the artist has made since 2001, when he moved to Brazil. The photographs show a naked female body on crumpled sheets, a wilted flower at the foot of a suffering Christ, a windswept beach, a swimmer in the night or an empty corridor. The artist captures these instants of intimate communion where the material takes on a spiritual dimension. Peter Neuchs’ images offer us a duality where the banal is exceptional and the everyday life eternal. But there is too much noise, blur or obscurity for the meaning perceived by the artist to be revealed without ambiguity. There is no expression to interpret, nor an obvious symbol, but a veil that covers these body parts or landscapes. If Peter Neuchs is as close as possible to his topics, he keeps a distance, cuts and offers fragments of them- as if the beauty, the breath, the sensations themselves escaped in an attempt to seize them. The topics’ triviality tints itself with mystery and melancholia — the spectator almost becomes the voyeur of brief silent encounters where the photographer was touched to the core.
Peter Neuchs (born in 1958 in Denmark) has an extremely vast visual arts practice (installation, sculpture, drawing, photography and engraving). The artist lives in Rio de Janeiro and regularly exhibits in Brazil and in Europe. The Galerie Maria Lund presented his works in a number of exhibitions (Cut — Outs, Motel Acapulco, R.J., 2002 — Dreamtest, 2004 — Sweet paper, 2006 — œuvres nouvelles, 2007 — Counting sheep, 2008 — Itinérances nocturnes, 2009 — Dans la forêt, 2013) as well as at Drawing Now — le Salon du dessin contemporain, Paris, (2007, 2008, 2013) where they received a very enthused response from the public as well as from the critics. In 2009 the curator Andrea Holzherr invited him to present his series Dreamtests (drawings on lace tablecloths) in the itinerant exhibition The Myth of Childhood (Haus für kunst Uri — Altdorf, Switzerland and at CCA Kunsthalle Andratx, Majorca).
Peter Neuchs’ work is present in numerous public collections of which the FRAC Haute Normandie.
48, rue de Turenne
T. 01 42 76 00 33 — F. 01 42 76 00 10
Tuesday – Saturday, noon – 7 PM
Other times by appointment