Peter Steinmann calls the deliberate irregularities of his pictures “precise coincidences”. During a stay in New York last year and in Basel, two groups of works were created, which can now be seen in Gallery25. If New York could be considered an inspiration to the former architect, it would be through the city's layout, similar to a drawing-board. The two groups of works, which are now being shown under the title “Peter Steinmann, New York – Basel”, are also based on grids. For Peter Steinmann, they usually result from the work process, which, however, is preceded by fundamental considerations about the image. While the works, with aluminium as the image carrier, are based on the alternation of differently oriented structures, the canvases are defined by horizontal lines.
In his studio, the artist has installed rails that allow him to create repeatable structures like the lines, but that do not completely eliminate coincidence. He creates the lines by removing paint from the canvas, which is coated with several layers of acrylic paint, with a comb-like squeegee. Irregularities develop, which flicker in front of the eye in interactions with the strong colours.
The group of images on aluminium is also determined by this dichotomy of controlled chance. The surface is the result of a mechanical process. The artist grinds the plate with brass brushes, the result differs depending on the attachment and working direction. “Painting with the grinding machine,” says Peter Steinmann. But despite the machine, this is a lengthy process in which there are always deviations. Even more so than in his acrylic paintings, the light and location of the viewer is crucial in his aluminium work. And because Peter Steinmann’s works are so active in incorporating space, objects have recently emerged that bring the play of light into the third dimension.
The “precise coincidences” include other opposites: the metallic elegance and sensuality, order as an abstracted presence and the freezing of the flow for the moment of the picture.
born in Lucerne
professional training as machine mechanic
Foundation of Steinmann Schmid Architekten, from 2016 SSA Architekten
250'000 m² built floor area
1050 apartments built
Sale and withdrawal of SSA Architekten
from 2018 studio in Basel
3 months studio stay in New York
Solo exhibition Gallery25, Basel