Peter Piller

Peter Piller

Work from Straßenende/Wendehammer and Autowäsche (Street-ends and Car Washing).

The Peter Piller Archiv is a massive compendium of collected imagery, go check it out.

An interesting article in Frieze here.

“As any curator will tell you, editing is an art, and many artists practice it. While working as a picture editor for an advertising agency, the German artist Peter Piller assembled a personal archive of thousands of newspaper images, mostly banal, small-town, photo-op stuff, ”the kind of photographs,” Mr. Piller writes in a gallery release, ”that the photographer who took them can’t even remember. They’re shot one day, printed the next, and in the garbage the morning after.”

Or in an art gallery, months or years later. Mr. Piller’s art, seen here in a strong New York gallery debut, consists of sorting selections from his archival holdings into thematic groups to suggest portentous stories. Bland shots of deserted roads look as sinister as crime scenes. Unexplained shots of bonfires default to records of mass destruction. Daily life, if uncaptioned, is a fraught and perilous state.

And it is most often absurd. Mr. Piller’s art of arrangement is never above dark humor. From a stash of aerial shots of German suburban homes he creates — in a wry nod to Bernd and Hilla Becher — a subset of houses adjoining cemeteries. From eBay he gleaned an array of snapshots of munitions for sale, each lethal missile displayed, like a designer accessory, in someone’s home.

The interest here, as in all Mr. Piller’s work, is precisely not in the photograph as precious object, and not in the objects depicted in the photographs, but in the cautionary back stories both suggest. Photography has taught us to see the world as guilty until proven innocent. As Duchamp understood, found pictures, like all found objects, can never really be innocent.” – Holland Cotter for Art in Review.

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