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Born in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1941, Peter Valentier spent his early years in his birthplace. His unique cultural background was shaped by his Danish father and French mother. In 1949 he moved to France, where he pursued his studies before serving in the military service in Germany.

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His artistic career began in the early sixties in the French city of Tours. The twenty-two-year-old student from the Regional School of Fine Arts immersed himself in the effects of the abstract geometry of the "hard edge".  He then travelled to Spain (Madrid and Toledo) and met the Argentinian painter Alberto Greco in Madrid, where he became a pupil and assistant.

In the early 1960s, Peter Valentiner started his artistic journey by experimenting with surreal and ironic abstractions, as well as created politically charged geometric collages. During this epoch, he began to develop his signature technique, characterised by: the creation of variations and mutations of a few basic forms or motifs. This method will remain the most crucial aspect of Peter Valentiner artistic style.

In 1966 he married Françoise Palluel with whom he later created the AARP gallery in 1973.

Despite having pursued his creation of striking political motifs well into the 1970s, Peter Valentiner embarked on a different artistic path in November 1969. He abandoned his political iconography and embraced a new creative approach that transcended the traditional boundaries of painting at that time. This new artistic expression was reflected in his use of unconventional techniques and methods. 


Peter Valentiner’s creative approach drastically changed, he began using military camouflage tents as the foundation medium for his artistic creations. He would stretch the tent on a frame, or nail it upon a wall to release its full potential. In 1971, he broke away from the confines of the traditional museum exhibition space and started integrating the tent into natural environments. He wrapped it around tree trunks, stretched it in the treetops, and nailed it to tree branches. By integrating military camouflage tents into natural environments, Valentiner sought to draw attention to the stark contrast and contradiction between the two. 


During the year 1971 he replaced the canvas with the camouflage net. The artist organizes creative processes in which huge camouflage nets are attached to buildings, bridges or trees, he even stretches camouflage nets between the houses of a narrow alley or uses them as window curtains. His works unfold in the interaction between the viewer's perception and the art of camouflage. He then became known as an artist of "land art" in France. With huge military camouflage nets, he concealed known buildings, bridges and roads, for example in Céret or Perpignan in the Pyrenees.


The introduction of the camouflage net into the natural environment can manipulate reality or alter the viewer's perception of it, like an ornamental background or like an abstract curtain on reality. In the skin of the leopard it can also establish an obvious formal relationship with the camouflage net.


In 1971, he moved to Paris and became the winner of the 7th Youth Art Biennale and obtained a grant from the Rodin Museum in Paris.

He feels a strong intellectual bond with the "Supports/Surfaces" group, a group of artists dedicated to manifesting their pseudo-Marxist political attitude and their aspirations for a complete "de-ideologization" of art through the use of decorative abstraction.

The year 1974 marked a decisive turning point in the work of Valentiner, who abandoned the working method based on the object and returned to painting. However, it remains faithful to the mesh structure of the nets and the interactions of several layers of images that visually interpenetrate.

The game of camouflage and exposure gradually returns to the level of painting. He finds an appropriate technique in what he calls “decoupage-report”. By covering painted surfaces, cutting and then tearing off small pieces of paper, he managed to capture the ambiguity of structure in multi-layered compositions. It is a synthesis of collage and take-off.

From 1981 the proximity with the camouflage net gradually disappeared in favor of large-scale compositions which were accompanied by more and more spatial depth. The division of space in the more recent paintings is more important, with an almost organic geometry that vibrates in harmonious colors like the movement of a symphony in the sound space of the orchestra.

Until the 1990s, cutting remained the most important working method for Peter Valentiner. The abstract and decorative works that Valentiner creates by means of decoupage reveal again his proximity to the conception of art of the "Supports/Surfaces" group and its complete de-ideologization of art.


"The spectator is placed in a position that allows him to acquire a new perspective. This is the intention of my painting. Through the composition and interaction of colors and simple forms I invite the viewer to reflect on their emotional relationship to space and to color and form in space. Through this relationship of space and light, a work is created through which a world is expressed: that of balance, tension and depth without knowing exactly how this feeling is evoked: by color and shape. Only these two basic elements remain the strict components of the visual language of my work."

Peter Valentiner

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It was in 2000, the “Hurricane” marked a turning point in his work, as he began to explore a new motif characterised by   black and white forms which condense into a vortex at the center of the image. Reduced to black and white, they seem more precise than the fields of colored structures in these previous works. If in the latter the eye was always lost in the confusion of colors and abstract anonymity, it is now drawn to depth and meaning.


“All the energetic and dynamic power, the metaphysical dimension of Valentiner's work is reflected in this simultaneous journey between darkness and light of the Hurricanes. The black and white values of the graphic compositions are those of a frame passed through the centrifuge of a microprocessor."

Michael Fisson

Throughout his life he will also have other complementary activities: he was in turn founder of groups of artists, organizer of fairs and exhibitions, gallery owner, lecturer and teacher.

He died on March 16, 2020 in Cologne.

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