Born 1968 in Fritzlar, Germany
Lives and works in Hamburg, Germany
Peter Piller has been working with found images, photography and drawing since the 1990s. Ever since working at a newspaper press clipping service as an art student in Hamburg, Piller has concerned himself with the collection of visual material and its subsequent re-contextualization into thematic series, in order to give it new meaning and dimensions. To this day, the Peter Piller Archive has grown to thousands of images — its sources including a commercial aerial photography archive, images from the internet as well as historical postcards. Informed by his perceptive observations and subtle sense of humor, this archive is constantly and meticulously rearranged to represent new associative formations that offer insightful perspectives on the activities and rituals of daily life. The wide spectrum of subject matter ranges from the depiction of (cultural) landscapes, people touching cars or looking into holes, to the juxtaposition of traditional role models, protest signs, trained dogs and much more.
Peter Piller’s photography also takes as subject the realm of everyday public life, affirming unanticipated meanings in the seemingly trivial. For his photographic series “Erscheinungen” for example, Piller found semi-trailer trucks featuring advertising photographs of posing women during countless trips by car between Hamburg and Leipzig and photographed them at rest stops and gas stations. He removed all typographic elements so that the series now focuses solely on the female figure, deprived of original advertising strategies, the viewer is confronted with the depiction of bizarre, meaningless actions. Through such reworking and representation of his images, Piller draws attention to their multiple significations and to the potential latent relationships between them. The artist has also been producing drawings alongside his image work since the beginning.
Piller has exhibited widely such as recently with Richard Prince at the Weserburg Museum, Bremen in 2021. Further solo exhibitions include the Staatliche Graphische Sammlung München; Mies van der Rohe Haus, Berlin; Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg; Deichtorhallen, Hamburg; Kunstverein Braunschweig; Kunstmuseum Bonn; Kunstforum Baloise, Basel; Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam, among others. He has participated in numerous group shows, most recently at the Weserburg Museum, Bremen and Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, but also at Centre de la Photographie Genève; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Fondazione Prada, Milan; Lenbachhaus, Munich; MoMa PS1, New York City; Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin, to name just a few. Peter Piller’s work can be found in public collections such as Kunstmuseum Bonn, Museum Ludwig, Cologne; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Fotomuseum Winterthur; Sammlung Falckenberg, Hamburg; Sammlung Rheingold, Mönchengladbach; Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, among others. Piller is a professor of fine art at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf. Prior to this, he was the professor of photography at the HGB Leipzig, from 2006 to 2018.