Peter Kogler

Eva Maria Stadler, 2007

“One must attribute a soul to the heart, the muscles, the nerves, the cells, however, a contemplating soul whose whole role consists of the assumption of habit.” In his book “Difference and Repetition” Gilles Deleuze talks about habit as a manifestation of generality which comes to expression in sensomotoric habits and thousands of passive syntheses “of which we are organically composed”.
It is often organic and at the same time social systems of order which Peter Kogler tries to capture thematically. Tubes as containers for the flow of blood, nerves, data or concrete. Flowing currents of liquids, rats, ants or skaters are at any one time starting points for Kogler’s surfaces. The exhibition at Galerie Mezzanin brings together various groups of works which depict such moving currents.

Peter Kogler covers a large wall with an index of prints which are lined up together like icons, as used in computer graphics to organise picture archives. This index shows the motifs which Kogler takes up in various work contexts. Globe, brain, ant, rat, lightbulb. The concepts make up picture units which are joined together in apparently endless variations and loops so that they then, so to speak, continue writing themselves in a dynamic process.
As early as 1984, the same year as the first Apple Macintosh came onto the market, Peter Kogler became interested in binarily organised surfaces. Although at this time he still made use of silkscreens, which he brought together into a larger grid on the basis of square units, later the most modern technologies of the time became decisive both for the production of the graphics as well as for printing. One the one hand Peter Kogler has reacted to developments in graphics programs but on the other to innovations in relation to dimensions and perfection of printed synthetic material.
At the same time the preconditions of technological work processes are most closely linked with artistic concerns. Beyond the attempt to give computer processes, which form the basis of the image world of computer graphics, an aesthetically perceptible space, the structures and phenomena which go to make up digital communication are questioned. The complex structure of data flows is examined for its interactions with processes of movement in the world of physical experience. For example, in one room-filling installation at the Kölnischer Kunstverein (Cologne Art Society) Peter Kogler had large projections of rats running along a wall in front of a display window looking out onto the street. Especially at night the paths of motion of the running rats and the passing cars merged together.
“In that we contract, we are habits, at the same time we contract through contemplation,” continues Deleuze in order to trace the dynamics of repetition. Contraction and relaxation, the swelling and subsiding of bubbles and bodies could be drawn upon as leitmotifs for Peter Kogler’s works. With them, the artist who sees himself as connected to the communications system, as part of the digital network, describes the complex layering of information and data transfer and at the same time examines its links back into social relationships. It is no coincidence that he uses highly charged socio-cultural symbols of ants and rats to trace moving currents of masses.

Behind a curtain printed with a grid of tubes with the stylised motif of a computer game that invites entry into anther world, a rat runs enclosed in a labyrinthine architecture which cannot be seen by the viewer, looking for its way – duplicated and manipulated by mouse click. The intertwining of virtual construct and its manifestation in observation is characteristic for Peter Kogler’s surfaces, facades and spatial designs. “We do not observe ourselves but we exist only as observers, in that we contract where we come from,” writes Deleuze and thereby points to the creative power that the observer takes in hand, which he calls contraction. Kogler’s tubes are contractions, they are supporting constructions in an observed world.
For artists of the avant-garde the collage began to become an increasingly important medium because, with its overlaps of materials from various contexts, it made possible another form of image creation, but also another form of temporality in the depiction. Peter Kogler makes use of these “analogue” technique in bringing together computer graphics, grid-like fabric and two aluminium sculptures like a model on a wallpaper hanging table. The table is a workbench and a presentation area. The arrangement of objects, fabrics and graphics marks a moment of physical presence within an information process that continues writing itself endlessly. The computer-shaped model of a brain and a globe form the poles of individual and global perception, of micro and macro images of flows of information, communication and movement which form themselves into generalities in the continuity of habits.

Eva Maria Stadler
translation Steve Gander