First published: Winter 2011
Robber barons and Nazi henchmen, Jesus on the cross, psychiatrists, sex and execution scenes, historical figures and anonymous mask-like faces. Interspersed isolated snippets of architecture or whole cityscapes, technically detailed reproductions of machines, roughly contoured shreds of words, subtle inscriptions and whole bodies of text – held together in a mesh of minuscule particles, hooks, worms and everyday objects in micro-biotic density and diffusion.
Peter Kapeller’s pictures take time – to compose as well as to view. Yet to approach his work properly, the artist demands that the inclined onlooker disregard its pure opulence and the technical complexity as such. Indeed, Kapeller’s Indian ink drawings convey differentiated artistic qualities beyond mechanical skill, perseverance and a horror vacui.
Kapeller stages scenes. He says that while he draws he indulges in the illusion of having an audience. Thus his depictions are ruthless acts of navel-gazing, magnified in a refractory social universe and arranged for that audience he wants to stupefy.
What moves him is the inadequacy of human nature, the depravity and bleakness of social systems. He defines his own ‘fucked-up life’ as a minefield, embedded in global settings of social ignorance and blunders.
When Kapeller draws, he configures everything he despises and everything that scares him beyond measure. He stages it graphically, never striving to be moderate or friendly, likable or even opportunistic. Kapeller creates an arena for his grievances. He is not afraid to record his outrage on paper with the epic force of a wailing chorus.
This is an article extract; read the full article in Raw Vision #74