Peter Regli. Ages of Smoke (RH NO 313, 2014)
Presented in Milan for his first solo show in Italy, RH NO 313, 2014 adds a new chapter to the critic of the architecture and of the Western classical tradition , a contribution on symbols of power and sexuality in the history of art, starting with the classical feature of the column.
Since 1995 Peter Regli has been working on a project in progress titled Reality Hacking (RH) which includes 317 works to date. By “reality hacking” the artist means the “incursions into reality” of his site-specific interventions. As in the case of a hacker who invades the web to alter a data processing system, these actions combine technical ability, intuition and critical intelligence to disrupt our perception of a specific system, a pre-established visual and conceptual order. ftost of these incursions have been done in public spaces, where Regli tests the possibility of art to operate outside encoded institutional contexts.
The two parts that form the title of this exhibition, Ages of Smoke (RHNO 313, 2014) do not have an immediate relationship. The reason behind the title is perhaps the same one that prompted Rainer W. Fassbinder to choose Smoke Gets in Your Eyes by the Platters for the soundtrack of one of his most intense films, The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant (1972). The song accompanies a dance and a story that does not simply narrate the solitude of the protagonists, but also the plot of a love triangle aimed at unveiling the dynamics of power in relations between individuals and cultural systems.
In his most recent works Regli continues research on the limits of sculpture, seen as a discipline made of weights and measures, horizontal and vertical lines, that hazard original symbolic compositions and support monumental specific weights.
Regli sarcastically annuls the judgment on that authority that permits us to identify a certain imaginary with the history of a civilization, which prior to its rise had, by its very nature, gained predominance over another. Small but significant details put the observer’s attention to the test, a game about the power exercised by the figures or symbols of western and eastern art and architecture in a system dominated by images. A mechanism that suggests how each time we enter into a relationship with a new figure, it links back to its history, to the power it has to be recognized and encoded.
Peter Regli (1959, Andermatt. Lives and works in New York) studied at the Zürcher Hochschule der Künste (ZHdK). Since 1995, with the series in progress Reality Hacking (realityhacking.com) he has focused on incursions and commissions in urban and natural public spaces.
“Same Same – But Different” is a publishing project, a database of images that seem identical at first glance, but have been gleaned from different sources (the “mini-series” has four publications/artist’s books to date, each on a recurring figure in the artist’s imaginary, such as the snowmen typical of his work).
He has shown work in solo and group shows in international museums and institutions, including: Karma, Amagansett, New York (2014); Haus für Kunst Uri, Altdorf (2013); Kunsthalle Sankt Gallen, St. Gallen (2011); CAN, Neuchâtel (2010); Nanjing Triennale, China (2008); Helmhaus Zürich, Zurich; Le Crédac, Ivry-sur-Seine, France (2007); Blank Projects, Cape Town, South Africa; Kunsthaus Zürich, Zurich (2006); Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, Santiago, Chile; National Gallery, Prague (2005); Künstlerhaus Dortmund, Germany (2004); Centre d’art contemporain, Geneva; Centre Culturel Suisse, Paris (2003); Museum of ftodern Art, New York (2002).