PETER VON TIESENHAUSEN
Monday, February 23, 2015
In collaboration with Emily Carr University of Art + Design, the CASV is pleased to present an artist talk by Peter Von Tiesenhausen.
The talk will take place on Monday, February 23rd (6pm) at Emily Carr University of Art + Design on Granville Island in the Emily Carr Lecture Hall – Room 301 (on Johnston Street, in the Library building 3rd floor).
Peter Von Tiesenhausen has exhibited and lectured widely across Canada as well as in Europe, the United States and Mexico. He has had over 50 solo and many group exhibitions, which have been widely reviewed and the subject of 3 national television documentaries including a one hour award winning film “Elemental” produced in 2000 for “Adrienne Clarkson Presents”.
His multidisciplinary practice includes painting, sculpture, drawing, printmaking, installation, event, video and performance. His work often involves the community in which he is working and utilizes the materials to be found there. He has created several permanent and ephemeral public artworks throughout North America and in Europe and has works in many public and private collections.
The land where he lives constitutes his primary and ongoing artwork and in 1995 he claimed copyright over that land. He has been successful on several occasions defending this artwork against the incursions of multinational corporate interests.
Von Tiesenhausen’s respect for his land is indisputable. In 1995 he independently copyrighted his property as a work of art: a last defense against a proposed pipeline that would have run through his property, a defiant act that in hindsight was a gamble that paid off. As an ongoing artwork, all 800 acres are protected; any change made to the land constitutes a copyright infringement. Politics aside, this perfectly illustrates the artist’s commitment to a life and practice that is holistic. Von Tiesenhausen does not set out to make art for his land; his daily rituals of living on this land makes the art: walking a path repeatedly, carving an eye in a tree, or adding another 8 feet of white picket to a fence he has continued to build for the last 24 years.
– Naomi Potter, Curator from the Esker Foundation
The easy way into von Tiesenhausen’s work is to label it “land art”. It is true the marks he makes on his land are subtle and the sculptures he builds are made of the stuff he finds around him, but to limit a definition of his practice would miss a more complicated reading. For years he considered himself an outsider, never accepted into the inner circles of the urban elite, yet this rural isolation has given him a cradle-to-grave vision now focused on the ethics of material use in urban development and suburban sprawl. In past work there was a focus on materials subtly referencing their natural state, but now the work examines the dirty end of this relationship – our production, consumption, and waste of material derived from nature.
Installation with “Relief”, 12′ x 16′, stacked, carved timbers, Art Gallery of Grand Prairie, Image courtesy of the artist.