PETER FRIEDL: PLAYGROUNDS
Henties Bay, Dr Libertina Amathila Street, 2003
Peter Friedl. Playgrounds
256 pages, 237 color plates
21 x 26 cm
Clothbound hardcover with dust jacket
Steidl & Partners, Göttingen 2008
Erna Hécey Gallery is pleased to announce the publication of Peter Friedl's Playgrounds by Steidl Publishers.
Representations of childhood is a recurrent theme in Peter Friedl's oeuvre. Playgrounds, started in 1995, comprises photos of urban play areas taken by the artist around the world. At present the work consists of some 800 digitized and projected color slides, arranged alphabetically by reference to their location names.
Friedl collects places on the basis of a common characteristic: playgrounds constitute the arena of the first institutionalized public experiences of young subjects. While raising questions about urbanism, education, social experience, architecture and design, playgrounds also appear here as aesthetic objects in their own relative autonomy. They remind us that Modernism promised once to represent a universal language.
Less an anthological than an anthropological project - reminiscent of the anthropological projects of the first half of the twentieth century - Playgrounds is a study in narration: a story of the world viewed through its playgrounds.
The book includes an essay by art historian Jean-François Chevrier.
"For Peter Friedl, the playground is a tiny global theater: a stage - its size more or less circumscribed , with a greater or lesser number of props - that he finds everywhere in every town and city. His interest in artistic 'genres' converges here with the question of the generic quality of a scenic device that addresses the representation of childhood. The child of the Family of Man so celebrated in the 1950s has been replaced by the global theater of childhood."
Peter Friedl's work has been exhibited worldwide, including at documenta X (1997) and documenta XII (2007), the 48th Venice Biennale (1999), the 3rd Berlin Biennale (2004), and the 2nd International Biennial of Contemporary Art in Seville (2006). Solo exhibitions include the Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels (1998); Neuer Berliner Kunstverein (1999); Casino Luxembourg, Luxembourg (2001); Chisenhale Gallery, London (2001); Institute for Contemporary Art, Cape Town (2002); Institut d'art contemporain, Villeurbanne-Lyon (2002); Frankfurter Kunstverein, Frankfurt am Main (2004); Witte de With, centre for contemporary art, Rotterdam (2004); Midway Contemporary Art, Minneapolis (2006); and Kunsthalle Basel (2008). In 2006 the Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA) organized a comprehensive retrospective, which was subsequently shown at Miami Art Central/Miami Art Museum and the Musée d'Art Contemporain in Marseille. His new exhibition Blow Job will be on view at Extra City, Center for Contemporary Art, Antwerp, 30 May - 27 July 2008. Opening Thursday 29 May 2008 from 7 pm. (www.extracity.org)