Peter EudenbachPeter Eudenbach
Exhibitions 2009

Peter Eudenbach

Peter Eudenbach
Peter Eudenbach,"Torch".2006

Oktober 17th until December 27th 2009

Introduction: Markus Weckesser

"Everything from ipods to billboard size screens have become a ubiquitous part of our surroundings. With video now less likely to be viewed within designated spaces or times, the medium´s communicative possibilities are being redefined. Today there is no need for drama or even narrative in moving images. Perhaps those early films by Thomas Edison, of kisses and sneezes, are more relevant today than they were at the turn of the last century. They are one inspiration for my videos, which occupy a zone between discrete sequences and moving photographs. I think of them as vignettes or isolated scenarios with an emphasis on cause and effect. In this way I believe that video can be more like dance, music, or poetry - taking place in time while existing on its own terms." Peter Eudenbach 2008

The artistic work of Peter Eudenbach reflects his interest in both functionality and also the absurd.  The pieces he creates are catalysts for new ideas, as well as tangible incarnations of intuition.  His recent work focuses on deriving poetic meaning from the history and local culture of found places and spaces.  For Neuenhaus, Eudenbach created the piece "Bird Watch" on the exterior façade of the Kunstverein.  Subjects of his current projects include multiples, short videos, and an ongoing series of "site-specific photographs," as he chooses to call it.
His videos occupy a space somewhere between filtered sequences and moving photographs.  They are vignettes or isolated occurrences, stand-alone scenarios that emphasize cause and effect.  The video can be perceived as a form of dance, music, or poetry, that takes place within time, but also exists by and for itself.  At the Kunstverein, he shows both videos and objects, and his absurd and surreal pieces are always full of humor.  Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virgina, USA, where Peter Eudenbach was recently promoted to the position of "Assistant Professor of Sculpture and Video," sponsored the exhibition.
"Imaginative and original, ironic and absurd, entertaining - yet carrying depth and both analytical and aesthetic precision; these words characterize the American artist Peter Eudenbach.  In the typical American sense, he has brought a refreshingly carefree and irreverent perspective to the trivial materials of everyday life, thus elevating it to the level of the professional art world. 
The Kunstverein invites viewers to an exhibition where the experience is simply good entertainment, a rare exception to the contemporary art field's trend towards self-imposed intellectual severity and a need for conceptual significance. 
The content of Eudenbach's artistic work, although presenting an unconventional perspective, is often a familiar aspect of any viewer's everyday life.  Whether it is a floor cleaner or hunting trophy, grandfather clock or rat trap, Peter Eudenbach uses a variety of mundane materials in his works.  He brings them into a new system, and this foreign context sets their often unexpected aesthetic potential free.  With the typical "Democratic" American approach towards art and culture, Eudenbach does not choose to create art with complex ideas that are difficult to decipher.  Rather, he creates objects that convey his ideas in a direct manner and this prevents them from being misunderstood by the viewer.  This nonchalant treatment assigns a new aesthetic and function to common everyday objects and spaces and incorporates allegories of the absurd or of the profound.  His method provides the viewer with not only amusement and entertainment, but also shows them new ways of viewing the world.  He encourages a thoughtful reflection of life by triggering provoking questions and stimulating one's imagination.  Often, the labels of "objet trouvé" or "ready-made" are attached to works of art that are made of found everyday objects - or even waste.  The Surrealist and Dada artists' transfer of banal materials into new contexts of art was of a playful, anarchic, and provocative nature, and Eudenbach's objects and spaces are permeated with this same wonderful aura. 
In his piece "Torch" (2006), Eudenbach has switched the interior bulb of a flashlight to a candle with a blackened wick, suggesting that the flashlight actually burned once before.  But just how did the candle in the flashlight ever burn?  Another work, "Odocoileus virginianus (Deer in Virginia)" (2005), consists of a deer's head - at first glance a proud trophy on the wall.  Only, the deer's intense sparkling eyes suggest that something is wrong:  a closer look into the pupil reveals a movie of the deer's perspective as it runs through a forest.  This realization is eerie enough to make the hair of the viewer stand on end, as it could be exactly what the deer saw in the final moments before it was shot and killed. 
Eudenbach's earlier readymade "Alarm Clocks and Rat Traps" (1995) is composed of two rat traps, with each connected to an alarm clock.  The clocks are set to specific alarms and here, in the truest sense of the word, the clocks mark their own final hour.  When the alarm time is reached, the traps will spring and destroy the clocks.  This is a humorous reference to the absurd desire of many people to destroy their alarm clock, restoring silence as it tears them from beautiful dreams every morning.  The piece "Imperial" is a subtle satire on the shiny chrome and souped-up status of a trophy car.  While others fine-tune the metal bodies of their cars and give them a glossy finish, Eudenbach instead upgraded a carpet cleaner by fitting it with chrome strips and a magenta-colored neon light. 
A popular theme of imagery for Eudenbach is the development of communication and transportation in the context of globalization and the global network.  His piece "Jetsam" (2007), presented in the exhibition as just a camera, contains a special kind of "message in a bottle" on a beach.  No letter is located in the plastic bottle's interior, but instead toy-sized shipping containers from Hapag-Lloyd.  The technically sophisticated video "Palindromes" (2008) transfers the principle of a palindrome, an object able to be read in the same way from either the front or the back, to the medium of film.  The film can be mirrored vertically and shows a ceaselessly rolling railway transport truck that seems to originate from a source in the middle of the screen - an allusion to the endless nature of the global freight network.  "Untitled Object" (1998) also alludes to the world as a closely networked communication system, showing a ball peppered with numerous dental mirrors.  The many mirrors act as screens that transmit images, just as transmission towers on the earth send and receive information around the globe." 
(Excerpt from Thomas Kriegisch, "Container Transport With A Bottle," Grafschafter News (10/27/2009). Translation: Taylor Champoux)

Exhibition catalogue (germ./engl.). Texts: Stefan Rasche, Elisabeth Wollek.
Translation: Liz Volk. Fotos: Helmut Claus.

 

Sponsered by Land Niedersachsen, Samtgemeinde Neuenhaus (Germany) and Old Dominion University in Norfolk (USA)

Vogeluhr (at the fassade of the Kunstverein), 2009
Vogeluhr (at the fassade of the Kunstverein), 2009
exhibition view
exhibition view
Alarm clocks and rat traps, 1995
Alarm clocks and rat traps, 1995
Imperial, 2005
Imperial, 2005
exhibition view
exhibition view
Palindrome, 2008 (video / detail)
Palindrome, 2008 (video / detail)
Table (video / detail)
Table (video / detail)
Folgsam / Jetsam, 2007
Folgsam / Jetsam, 2007
Time Transfixwd, 1995/2007
Time Transfixwd, 1995/2007
Zu Fluss, 2009
Zu Fluss, 2009
Torch, 2006
Torch, 2006
Untitled, 1999
Untitled, 1999
Vogeluhr, 2009
Vogeluhr, 2009