Peter Friedl

  • Secret Modernity

    Secret Modernity

    Selected Writings and Interviews 1981–2009

    Peter Friedl and Anselm Franke

    In order to remain autonomous, at some point art began to copy everything that is not autonomous. There was no lack of supply and demand since power, as we know, can only be held over the production of truth or else it does not function.–Peter Friedl

    Since the early 1980s, Friedl has written on a variety of subjects. The book Secret Modernity: Selected Writings and Interviews 1981–2009 compiles for the first time a representative selection of his (partly unpublished) texts, along with a series of interviews. As in his artworks, Friedl's writings quote from and rework multiple genres. He offers reviews and portraits of George Sand and Clarice Lispector, of Alighiero Boetti and Jean-Luc Godard; articles and documents contributing to theater and film history, which examine the work of, among others, Richard Foreman, Robert Wilson, or Glauber Rocha; as well as comments and reflections on his own projects. Alongside these are essays delving deep into the past, exploring mainly colonial history and its paradoxical traces in the present: narratives about Haiti, South Africa, and Italy's repressed colonial rule in Africa.

    Peter Friedl (b. 1960) lives in Berlin. He has participated in documenta X and 12 (1997, 2007); the 48th Venice Biennale (1999); the 3rd Berlin Biennial for Contemporary Art (2004); the 2nd International Biennial of Contemporary Art, Seville (2006); Manifesta 7, Trento (2008); the 7th Gwangju Biennale (2008); the 28th Bienal de São Paulo (2008), and the Tirana International Contemporary Art Biennial (2009). His solo exhibitions include “Blow Job” at Extra City Kunsthal Antwerpen (2008); “Working” at Kunsthalle Basel (2008); the retrospective survey “Work 1964–2006” at Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona, Miami Art Central, and Musée d'Art Contemporain, Marseille (2006–07); and “Out of the Shadows” at Witte de With, Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam (2004). Since the 1980s, he has published numerous essays and books, including Four or Five Roses (Lukas & Sternberg, 2004) and Working at Copan (Sternberg Press, 2007).

    Co-published with Extra City Kunsthal Antwerpen

    • Hardcover $29.95
  • Working at Copan / Trabalhando no Copan

    Working at Copan / Trabalhando no Copan

    Peter Friedl

    Working at Copan collects interviews with workers and employees at Edifício Copan, a landmark modernist architecture in the center of São Paulo. Designed by Oscar Niemeyer and completed in 1966, it became the largest residential building in Latin America. As a historical building and symbol of “vertical utopia,” it embodies an era of radical political and economic changes within Brazilian society. In his new book project, Berlin-based artist Peter Friedl deals with the work left over from the modern era. The questions and answers are concerned with the logic of the labor performed, the work process, the relationship of work and leisure, biographical details, memories, and plans for the future.

    “Maybe someday the Niemeyer curves can be interpreted as a play with the contradictions of Brazilian society; more a playful offer, than an authority deciding the game's outcome. In any case, the complexity of urban social reality in a city like São Paulo offers enough material to reinterpret the euphoric program of its modernistic showcase architecture. The urban jungle has all kinds of hidden ruins in store.”—Peter Friedl

    Co-published by Kunsthalle Basel and Extra City, Antwerpen, in collaboration with Exo, São Paulo. The book is followed by an exhibition at the Kunsthalle Basel from January 18 – March 30, 2008, and at Extra City, Antwerpen from April 10–June 8, 2008.

    • Paperback $26.00
  • Four or Five Roses

    Four or Five Roses

    Peter Friedl

    So far, the work of Austrian artist Peter Friedl (*1960) has managed to elude stylistic classification. Investigating the social, political, and cultural realities at work in institutionalized practice, his projects have been called “conceptual, aesthetic acts”—usually they are subtle forays into institutional criticism with political insight.

    Four or Five Roses continues Friedl's exploration of the stereotypical language of the monologue genre. The book contains some 45 children's “monologues,” edited by the artist from numerous interviews and conversations recorded on playgrounds in South Africa. Faithfully transcribed and translated into English from different South African languages (Afrikaans, Northern and Southern Suthu, Zulu, Xhosa...), the “edited monologue” then becomes a hybrid genre, both fictionalised speech and serious counter-voice. What is ultimately at stake is how discursive strategies operate as a political tool, endlessly reshaped and manipulated for the sake of persuasion. The texts are accompanied by color illustrations of the actual South African playgrounds.

    • Paperback $19.95