We are proud to present a new solo exhibition by the Danish painter Peter Ravn at Gallery Poulsen in Kødbyen, Copenhagen.
Peter Ravn has named his new exhibition HE CHOSE THE WRONG CAREER. Exchange the word ‘career’ with ‘wife’, ‘education’ or just ‘road’, and the point becomes clear, as it would in an updated version of the American poet Robert Frost’s famous The Road Not Taken from 1920.
It’s about the courage to confront and exist in the doubt, but as always in Ravn’s universe, an undercurrent of humour runs through the often grotesque motifs, so that you hardly know whether to laugh or to cry.
“My work is about the basic existential conditions of relations, interactions and the relationship between the individual and authorities and the norms of society. About the conversation a person has with him or herself throughout life. Nobody hears this silent conversation because it takes place within us. To get closer to this, I eliminate the exterior just as I try to avoid contemporary identity markers in my figures.
I am preoccupied with the human ability, or should we call it disposition, to rationalise after the event and attribute a deeper meaning to our often rather arbitrary life choices. Doubt and regret in a grown and dignified person’s life is almost taboo, to stop and confront this takes courage and has consequences. On the other hand, doubt about the doubt is gnawing in the background if you continue as if nothing had happened, and often this course of action comes at a great price. This conundrum is present in the psychology of the individual and its existential search, but also in the western way of thinking, and in our streamlined societies where we are rarely presented with alternatives to conformity.”
The men in Ravn’s paintings are caught up in their postures, often wearing a depersonalising suit. They resign, they are paralysed, they crawl away, are caught in some spectacular and disquieting, not easily decoded settings, as the one where a man in freshly shined shoes and clenched teeth pulls another man away by his mouth. In Ravn’s grey toned palette, the collective identity crisis is interpreted with pain and a dash of humour, which is again reflected in the title, in which you note a comment to the man, who is desperately clinging to a hastily changing self-image.
The figures can seem like empty representations, because they are stripped of contemporary identity markers and usually appear in the western world’s anonymous attire, the suit. In contrast, their features are characteristic and some of the men appear in several series, which shows that Ravn works with a corps of masculine representations, in which the beholder can reflect himself and his ideas. You are rendered deeply moved, often in an unpleasant way, but also left to draw your own conclusions and with a disturbing feeling that these tell more about you than about the work!
Last year, Peter Ravn had a solo exhibition in Rome in the gallery Z2O/Sara Zanin, which also represented him at ArteFiera, the most important art fair in Italy, in Bologna this spring. Ravn was also invited to participate in the new biennale in Brescia in northern Italy, which runs from the beginning of September to the end of November this year. In addition to this, he participated in Emergency Room in Wroclav, Poland, in September.
“He Chose The Wrong Career”
Gallery Poulsen Contemporary Fine Arts
Flæsketorvet 24, Den hvide Kødby
1711 København V.
Tlf.+45 3333 9396 / +45 4015 5588
Opening hours: Tuesday thru Friday 12 -17.30, Saturday 11 – 15 or by apointment