April 24 - June 6 2015

Galleri Nicolai Wallner is pleased to announce a solo show of new works by Peter Land—Showbizz. Focusing on Peter Land’s sculptural work, the exhibition explores the connections and juxtapositions between the ideas of perfection and performance.

In a darkened exhibition space, a spotlights shine on three sculptures. The figures appear eerily lifelike and human, creating an uneasy feeling that is augmented in connection with the figures’ very young age.

In a far corner, a small boy stands on a carpeted, red platform. Dressed in a tuxedo with a violin tucked under one arm and a bow in his other hand, his gaze is serious and intense, directed out towards the spectator, or rather, the audience. The title of the work, Wunderkind, alludes to the idea of a presumed child genius—in this case, the idea of a child musical virtuoso.

In contrast, the bust of a young boy and the bust of a young girl each sit atop their own plinths. Much like with Wunderkind, their expressions are determined. Their eyes, however, have been made deliberately void. The title of the exhibition, Showbizz, suggests that perhaps they too are also performers, thought in what capacity is left ambiguous.

Much of Peter Land’s practice deals with the fine line between the real and the surreal, as he examines the realities of the human condition. Using himself as his primary source for research, he often transposes himself into his work, revealing his own vulnerabilities. In this context, the idea of the child as performer can be extended to the idea of the artist himself as a performer.

In a reality where the artist, the artwork, the institution and the spectator are intrinsically linked, the role that the artist plays in relation to the work goes beyond being simply the creator of the work and becomes understood as a kind of figure that can be typecast and expected to fulfill a certain set of expectations. This intimate exposure of Land’s feelings is translated through the work, in this case put on the shoulders of the very young children he depicts. This use of young children illustrates a difficult juxtaposition, as the naiveté and innocence of youth is contrasted by their very adult-like expressions and posture, alluding to an internal sensitivity and a kind of external, masked toughness that is undoubtedly shared by Land.

Highlighting the differences between the public and private self, both in terms of what one might want to alternatively hide or project and what one might expect from others, Land asks the spectator to question their own motives in this paradigm. What kind of burden of expectations have they placed on him in the role of Peter Land, the artist?

Peter Land (b. 1966) has exhibited extensively around the world, with notable exhibitions at The National Gallery of Denmark (Copenhagen), Fundacion Miro (Barcelona), Hayward Gallery (London), Mori Art Museum (Tokyo), Centre Pompidou (Paris), New Museum (New York), Kunsthalle Dusseldorf (Dusseldorf), Nordiska Akvarellmuseet (Skarhamn) and and Musee d’art moderne et contemporaine (Geneva) among many others. Land work was featured in the 2005 Venice Biennale for The Danish Pavilion. His work is represented in permanent collections such as Centre Pompidou (Paris), MoMA (New York), ARoS (Aarhus), The National Museum of Contemporary Art (Oslo) and Louisiana Museum of Modern Art (Humlebæk).

carrie emberlyn