According to Stefan Peters, the significance of painting is inextricably connected with the meaning of life and the puniness of our existence. Fired by a fixed fascination with the language of painting, Peters has for some years been aspiring to fathom reality by disclosing the mechanics of representation. How and to what extent does the medium’s long tradition provide a response to the complexity of contemporary reality?
The artist makes uses of rhetorical devices such as reversals, mirror imaging and cutting to undermine the elegance of his painting technique. This results in scenes characterised by fairy-like as well as apocalyptic elements. Using indirect lighting, scenic shadows and brush strokes that refuse to take on any descriptive function, Peters dissects what is familiar to us. What he depicts evokes Edward Snowden, inadvertently stumbling onto ‘The Truman Show’ - a scene that elicits the question: ‘Was nothing real?’
The artist meditates in paint while searching for a principle – which increasingly turns out to be the simplicity of a brush stroke or even of a blank space. In the end, Stefan Peters creates visual vortexes. Though there’s always ineluctably something off-kilter about his illusory constructions, they invariably exert a fatal attraction on the viewer.
Stef Van Bellingen
picture © Alessandra Ruyten