REVIEW: Peter Piller

Peter Piller
Barbara Wien
Linienstrasse 158
26 January – 31 March 2007

For the first time ever, Peter Piller has taken a detour onto the road more taken. And in the context of Piller’s work, which one might describe as that invisible decisive moment of decision-making, this “more taken” road is actually the one less taken. The road not taken by Piller until now was that of showing his own photographs, which he has done here at Barbara Wien and in fine constellations of pure poetry. Those of you who do not know your Robert Frost, at this point – and who do not know Piller’s better-known work– have no idea what I am talking about. You see, Piller is famous for his blick (not far from a “blink”) and not for that moment of “when” to press the button on the camera, but rather that moment when a found photograph becomes one worth exhibiting, when it makes a statement, without ever having made a statement. In the series called Dauerhaftigkeit (2005/2006) taken from the archives of a textile mill in a small town in the Netherlands, one finds that Piller’s chosen photographs are not so much “photographs” as “snapshots,” more than likely shot by the mill workers. Furthermore, not only are they snapshots, but failed snapshots, accidental shots of the ceiling or of a tree’s branches winter bare. The fact that we, as gallery-goers, carefully examine each of these “works” on the walls, making connections where there were none in the mind of the “photographer,” who is not so much a “photographer,” per se, as rather a person with a camera in hand (and then further the distinction that Piller makes, even when he becomes that man with a camera), yes, one finds these forks in the road exposed – man with camera, archive, artist, gallery – and that is exactly what has made all the difference.


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