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Drawings, 1964–ongoing

Drawing in its largest sense plays a fundamental role in Friedl’s oeuvre, from 1964 to the present. Friedl uses the authenticating medium of the handmade drawing as a lyrical voice, which documents and comments on both personal and socio-political histories, always on the fringes of potential counter imagery. His artistic method is characterized by affirmation, reflection, and mimicry. Scribbled words refer to the fact that writing is simply another form of drawing. The motifs in his drawings encompass a wide range, from autobiographical, often esoteric notes, the “political unconscious” of the early drawings, through to numerous historical portraits from recent years. The drawing hand transforms media images into imagined, unstable documents. In Friedl’s journey through all kinds of narratives, geographies, concepts, and time, heterogeneous contents are matched with a vast variety of techniques. His drawings orbit the question of what an authentic subjectivity that is capable of exercising agency looks like.

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Peter Friedl

Peter Friedl is a classic of contemporary art. The three-time documenta participant, born in 1960, can be considered a notorious participant in discourse - because his work has always understood how to address major themes in such a way that they found and find new forms away from the canon and mainstream. Forms that run counter to power and domination, subvert them, escape them.... and confront them in the process. Friedl takes away from history - for example colonialism or modernity, its paradigms and institutions - the power to define what is connected and how, and with an almost innocent-seeming aesthetic he tells a different story about humans and historical actions than we are used to and may find opportune. Peter Friedl provokes that which dominates us, including our own thinking.

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