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The Work of Peter Wüthrich
Since the early 1990’s, Peter Wüthrich’s art has focused exclusively on the medium of the book. It has thus focused on a medium that has generally been seen as standing in contrast to the work of a visual artist. Contrary to the fixed, defining character structurally inherent to every text, the openness of the processes of the visual arts circumvents the hierarchy of the alphabet and the linearity of texts. In Wüthrich’s works, books are, in fact, characterized much more by their ambiguity, within which their legibility and their traditional function has been consistently denied without questioning their status as books.
In numerous artistic investigations, from wall pieces and installations to photographs and films, Peter Wüthrich circumnavigates the obscure object of his desire. In doing so, the artist sees his books more than anything else as personalities, that is to say as beings far beyond mere physical objects, beings which contain something which they are allowed to keep to themselves, and thus as beings which are open to a transformation into another form of reality. As individual monochrome panels on the wall, the books become allusions to monochrome painting; when laid out on the floor they are transformed into inaccessible fields of color or to cuboid or wall-like stratifications. The books find their greatest sense of freedom in the artist’s photographs: they crouch and squat in trees or along the edges of walkways, copulate tenderly in the green undergrowth, or float freely and independently in the pale blue expanse of the sky. Each of these realizations are founded within a profound longing to not take the world simply at face value, but rather to make it the object of a transformational imagination, within which things become illustrations of themselves, and thus images of their own potentially endless possibilities.
Wüthrich’s world presents us with the view of a wide-awake romantic who is not afraid to confront the numerous challenges of contemporary life – a romantic who shows us in ever surprising ways that our imagination could very well be the perfect apparatus to produce an other, transformed reality, if only we would use it as such.
Prof. Dr. Stephan Berg, Director Kunstmuseum Bonn (Germany)