this issue contains
>> An Interview with Hanns Egon Wörlen
>> Chronicler of poses: Peter Holl
>> visuell - the magazine of Deutsche Bank Art

>> archive

 

Chronicler of poses: Peter Holl

The Austrian newspaper Standard characterized the pictures of Peter Holl as "Kissed awake, Ready-Made Art." The artist finds photographic motifs for his water-colors in lifestyle magazines and advertisement brochures. In his portraits he often works with the techniques of blended over double drawings: He places newspapers over the light source. In this way, foreground and background are linked on one image level, and new and surprising pictorial spaces arise - the face of the model becomes the janus-face for Peter Holl. A portrait of the artist, whose works are represented in the collection of the Deutsche Bank by Richard Rabensaat.


Peter Holl: Ohne Titel, 1997
Deutsche Bank Collection
©Courtesy Galerie Rainer Wehr, Stuttgart / Peter Holl



Men and women pose in groups. Sometimes the background hides the suggestion of a landscape, or the artist places his protagonist in an over-dimensioned space which has come apart at the seams - policemen, housewives, tourists at the bank of a river are shown usually from the front and seldom in motion in the early pictures of the artist Peter Holl from Heilbronn who was born in 1971. They often look at us from a cool remove.

Through their direct gaze out of the picture we enter into a dialogue with them. Nonetheless, their water-color contours do not offer any stability, the figures presented leave the viewer alone with his reflections, although clothing and pose are drawn in great detail. But the assumed virtuosity of the painted contemporaries is dissolved with a glance at their faces. These blur along with folds in the jeans and the jogging pants. It seems as though Holl would want to expose the underlying vagueness of fading character structures in his pictures by dampening the overly sharp contours.



Peter Holl: Ohne Titel, 1998
Deutsche Bank Collection
©Courtesy Galerie Rainer Wehr, Stuttgart / Peter Holl



In the process, the portrayed do not seem altogether very friendly. One would rather not encounter one of Holl's policemen and the figure playing ball could just as easily be holding a bomb in his hands. Even in the pictures in which models pose in flower dresses and pyjamas, the scenery appears to be frozen, the cheerfulness of the young girl is ossified. The nameless terror of the present reenters the painting through the backdoor. The daily horror reports on the news are mirrored in their faces, although Peter Holl never explicitly names them.


Here his drawings come close to the work of Marlene Dumas. With her portraits, the French woman artist tore the masks from the artfully made up faces of models, whose photos served as a basis for the drawing. This is certainly not the intention of Peter Holl, his papers are too light, too fragile. Nonetheless, in his water color portraits we find the brittleness of post modern personality constructions.


Peter Holl: 12 Inch Lamps, 1999
Deutsche Bank Collection
©Courtesy Galerie Rainer Wehr, Stuttgart / Peter Holl



The fact that Peter Holl has chosen precisely this painting technique, is certainly no coincidence since the paper in water color painting is not the undercoat but becomes part of the presentation. And in this way the drawings achieve a lightness that is incomparably more difficult to achieve than with other techniques. Holl's water-colors are not an isolated phenomena in the current realism boom. Other artists are also experimenting with the old-fashioned medium of water colors. The Berlin painter Martin Dammann, Kerstin Drechsel and Caro Suerkemper come to mind here. In contrast to Dammann, Peter Holl does not make any forays into an expressive use of color. A proximity between Drechsel and Holl can be found in their preference for still life. This is manifest for Holl in his drawings of glasses and lamps.

Peter Holl, who studied at the Kunstakademie Stuttgart under Moritz Baumgartl and Peter Chevalier, paints however not only carefully balanced arrangements, he also makes use of technical tricks in his drawings. While the still lifes of the painter, who is garnered with many grants are focused around a clearly discernible center, he works on the technique of blended over double drawings in his later portraits painted in 2002 and 2003. He places newsprint paper over a light source. Foreground and background are thus linked together on an image level in which new surprising image spaces are created. Because the back and front of the photo model merge together, the face that is drawn becomes a janus-face and sometimes even a cyclop.


Peter Holl: Kythera, 2002
Deutsche Bank Collection
©Courtesy Galerie Rainer Wehr, Stuttgart / Peter Holl



[1] [2]