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Mosaic-like pictorial landscapes

Press - Mosaikartige - 09-1989
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On the Peter Valentiner exhibition in the chapter house

Bad Hersfeld. For the most part, he presents his almost thirty works in high, cross and greeting form without a title, some of them under such illustrious titles as "Blue Night Shadows", "Paloma" or "Dolce Vita". We are talking about Peter Valentiner, a busy French artist who, as a representative of the European art scene, is at home on the "axis" New York - Paris - Berlin, but has been living in Cologne for ten years.

In continuation of this year's presentations of abstract painting and graphic art in the Bad Hersfeld chapter house, an exhibition of his works from the years 1984 to 1989 was opened on Sunday morning by Mayor Hartmut H. Boehmer. It is "the task of the museum to show things that run somewhat counter to the department stores' culture technique", the mayor assured, thus rejecting previous accusations of one-sidedness in the selection of the exhibition offerings in the chapter house.

In an introduction to Peter Valentiner's work, Dr Barbara Dahlheimer, art historian at the "Gropius Museum" in Berlin, also traced his artistic career on the basis of his biographical data. Born in Copenhagen in 1941, Valentiner studied at the "Ecole des Beaux Arts" in Tours from 1960 to 1963 after his family moved to northern France in 1940. In addition to his artistic work and training, he devoted himself primarily to organisational activities such as preparing exhibitions in order to help intensify public contact with contemporary art. Jackson Pollock, Nicolas de Staël and Hans Hartung fascinated and preoccupied him, but so did the paintings and drawings of Vincent van Gogh.

His encounter with the Argentinean painter Alberto Greco in Madrid (1963) also marked the turning point in his later work, which was determined by his interest in abstract painting. He was particularly fascinated by the American technique of stencil painting ("hard cdgc"), as his abstract figurations show clear, distinct outline forms.

As a prize-winner at the 7th Biennale in Paris, he received a scholarship from the "Musée Rodin" in 1971 and in the years that followed he was active as a founder or member of various artistic "salons" and associations that helped shape the scene. Since 1979, Peter Valentiner has been a lecturer at the Academy for Painting and Free Design in Trier, where, in collaboration with Prof. Kraemer, he set up the exhibition "Spuren und Zeichen" -European Painting of the Present in 1984. Numerous exhibitions of his own in Germany and abroad made his work known.

The mosaic-like pictorial landscapes of his exhibits in the chapter house seem like views through a kaleidoscope, which can vary the constellation of its crystals at will by turning them, but can also stop in a certain combination, and seem to invite the viewer to examine his relationship to space and colours for once via emotional perception.

"Each painting is a representation in which colour is transformed into light and form into space," Valentiner comments on his art himself, and also offers the viewer interpretative assistance by saying: "Through this relationship of space and light, a work is created in which a world is expressed; that of balance, tension and depth, without one knowing exactly how this feeling is evoked, by colour or by form. From this ambivalence, which puts the viewer in a state of confusion, arises his curiosity, which initiates the process of engagement.

Valentiner caused quite a furore in the art scene at the beginning of the 1970s when he discovered the practice of "camouflage" (camouflage, deception) for art and wrapped various objects with "leopard stuffing" and military camouflage nets. The formal design of these nets transferred to the picture surface thus shows a camouflaged reality or its absence This, of course, is left to the viewer to decide.

K. v. Baumbach


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