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Is it the explosive transgression of visual form or the vivid depictions of sexual acts that the eye catches first? This is the border of perception that characterizes the works of Simon Adam Peter.
Each pigment and brushstroke on every fiber of the canvas is dedicated to sexuality. Young men lying solemnly on the bed with erect penises, men kissing each other, engaged in the act of oral sex, posing in front of a mirror, tenderly touching each other. All is articulated in delicate language and is by no means pornographic. Pornography is the destilling of the image for the sake of the viewer’s physical arousal. Peter’s works operate differently; they excite the mind differently. None of them contain visual stereotypes. Instead, the figures and their interactions are unique seeming to come straight from life instead of boring templates that can now provoke nobody but the boring. Although they inhabit the hemisphere of homosexual passion and desire, Peter’s works create an empathetic projection surface that is completely independent of sexual orientations and interests. In this manner, style and theme become congruent not only due to the depicted male figures but also due to the permanent state of ecstatic excitement. It is not always possible to maintain this tension until the painting is complete. Then it arrives at a liberating, form-dissolving outburst. Paint turns into sperm, runs uncontrollably down the canvas, forms blobs, erases faces and body parts. The bed sheet, conventionally perceived as a base for sexual needs, becomes the soiled canvas. The brush strokes tenderly lay contour lines, create physiognomies and hint at interiors. Then, it is over and the drive is suppressed in the creative culmination of painting. The paint has to come out. And then it shoots out.
Whether he wants it or not, Peter negotiates between Apollonian and Dionysian principles. On the one hand, the rational impulse demands the preservation of form. On the other hand, the blind intoxication simultaneously yearns for the lustful destruction of form. The visual arts have always been under the protection of Apollo, the god of the Muses. The allure of letting Dionysus out of his ancestral realm of music, in which the individuals dissolve into a wild dance horde, and into the sovereign land of Apollo is ancient. Peter takes the risk knowing that, if the Dionysian forces were fully unleashed, his paintings would be torn to shreds. So far, he has been impressively successful in balancing between these two powers. The question remains - how long will the viewer's eye be able to withstand Peter's painterly intoxication? Will it wish for the return of the Apollonian HD quality?
(Marcus Andrew Hurttig)