Peter Martensen — Undone Sketches


Drawing, painting

Peter Martensen
Undone Sketches

Past: June 17 → July 23, 2016

Intentions, ideas, notes, projects, plans, diaries, memoirs, registers, archives or simple sheets of paper… Our life, our thoughts, our dreams often exist in writing — and sometimes only exist as written traces… Drawers and other containers are filled with them. To this we can add the attempts, the aborted projects, the impossibilities… The confrontation with a reality that does not want to emerge or that collides with the eternal lack of time. Not to mention documents with such sensitive material that they live in the shadows… until the day when…

The artist Peter Martensen handles all these notebooks, diaries and loose paper sheets — including his own — in a very concrete manner: he started painting and drawing them transforming them into landscapes, endless accumulations. In these compositions, Mankind is sometimes shown on the scale of books and notebooks; he is sometimes as big as a giant or as small as a Lilliputian. Ideas accumulate, get forgotten, just as ignored words of wisdom, trampled projects and truths too truthful, but the notebooks remain…


Specialists (men in white gowns) that have populated Martensen’s works for some time now, are more present than ever: picking up loose paper sheets, wandering about in the water, if they are not roaming the landscape heavily armed. In The Crystal ball party, men in black costumes and white shirts, most of them carrying a crystal ball, are gathered in a sea of foam where shrubs from a baroque garden appear here and there. Three minuscule women in white gowns are watching the scene while two men, with backpacks, are diagonally crossing in opposite directions. Quo vadis? Will the crystal balls bring any answers? Their carriers hold them like any ordinary accessory.


And suddenly time stops; a woman’s head, from the 21st century or the 19th, seen in profile is shown partly in the shade, her face lit by a strong light — insects dancing around it. Her closed eyes exude calm and concentration: the being and its interiority.


Subtle shifts, the implausible and the unreal are Peter Martensen’s tools, as is the exploitation of the matter’s specific abilities.
With Undone Sketches, the artist takes on a new subject matter while still remaining true to his sweet transgression in which humor, poetry and pathos feed the questioning and the unveiling of anchored conventions and visions. His quirky and highly relevant work moves because of its non-demonstrative acuity: welcome aboard Martensen’s big boat, which infinite itinerary navigates between places we think we know and dangerous horizons where clear-sightedness and misadventure are looking out for the traveler. Fasten your seatbelts!


_Peter Martensen (born in Denmark in1953) regularly exhibits in institutions and galleries in his homeland as well as in Europe and the United States. Recently his work was presented in South Korea and Japan. The Galerie Maria Lund has presented seven solo exhibitions of the artist : Clone club paintings (2000), Civilisations (2002), Strange days (2004), The test (2007), Testing freedom (2008 — dans le cadre du Mois de la photo), Museum (2011) et Feelings (2013). The Musée d’art moderne et contemporain de Saint Etienne Métropole showed his drawings this spring in the context of the exhibition Intriguing Uncertainties (Intrigantes Incertitudes.) _

  • Opening Friday, June 17, 2016 6 PM → 9 PM
03 Le Marais Zoom in 03 Le Marais Zoom out

48, rue de Turenne

75003 Paris

T. 01 42 76 00 33 — F. 01 42 76 00 10

Chemin Vert

Opening hours

Tuesday – Saturday, noon – 7 PM
Other times by appointment Spring 2020 : By appointment only

Venue schedule

The artist

  • Peter Martensen