• ArtistPeter Knoch
  • TitleAfrika
  • Year of Origin2011
  • GenreInstallation
  • Technique and DimensionEnameled ceramic, water, foil, steel cable, dimensions variable
  • Erwerbungsjahr2017
  • Erwerbung der StiftungYes

Monkeys, hyenas and puppets populate the scenic installations by Peter Knoch. In the sculptural work of the Berlin-based artist, the monkeys in particular have developed over time into an imaginary fund and vocabulary that is always available for new pictorial inventions. Like elements of a vocabulary, they appear in different ways on large reliefs, as ceramic sculptures, portraits, or even in space-consuming arrangements such as Africa, in order to lead the viewer on further tracks. The ongoing preoccupation with the creatures that are known to be closest to humans of all animals is due to a journey in which the monkeys literally crossed the artist’s path. This encounter resulted in a longer engagement in the sense that something concerns us and demands our reaction. In Peter Knoch’s appealing and disturbing settings, personal encounters and events are always at play, condensed, formally organized, interwoven in a variety of ways with mythological scenarios and brought to a distance.

The new acquisition Africa forms its own atmospheric cosmos and plays with the fascination of the world in miniature: Treelike black formations are grouped in a circle around a boat with rowing monkeys, which seems to glide through these dead, bulbous branches. The monochrome, matte ceramic surfaces of the black monkeys and trees absorb every reflection of their surroundings and intensify the spatial visual and at the same time dream-like presence of this no-escape world. The floating, shiny sphere with bearing hyenas exaggerates the apocalyptic and unreal scenery.

What here, as technical and artistic precision and skill, is the achievement of the art genre of ceramic sculpture, which has only recently been respected in the canon of conventional values, emerges from the balancing act between the abysmal and the beautiful appearance. The work with the thoroughly provocative title Africa opens with the ping-pong between attractive elegance and crude unease a place of transition where the unknown uncanny becomes familiar and at home.

Birgit Effinger