Peter KöhlerCurrent C.V. Photos Contact
A r c h i v e 2 0 1 9
Yes, I am from Stockholm. I grew up in a 70's suburb with high-rise buildings and a lot of concrete, ten minutes from the inner part of city.
There were beautiful old forests not too far away though. Nature reserve areas with old trees, plants and animals. I was living in between and found
great pleasure in both worlds. As far as I can remember I have always been busy drawing. I was in my late teens when I verbalised for myself that I wanted to be an artist.
I studied at a preparatory art school in Northern Finland for two years and then five years at the Royal institute of Art in Stockholm with an exchange term in London.
After the last art school, I was actually pretty tired of Stockholm and left for NYC, staying for one and a half years.
I have travelled all over the world but seem to always come back to the city. Stockholm is really beautiful, with all of its water and its history.
Most people like it best in the summer but I don't. I love the dark periods when you light candles and need a wool scarf when you go out.
It's a big modern city but much smaller compared to Shanghai or Los Angeles. I like that. I also work with a great gallery here called Galleri Magnus Karlsson and I have my family here.
My roots are here I suppose. I can be influenced by the city just strolling around. Having a cup of coffee in an oldtown café that is hundreds of years old.
It's also fascinating to see the city transform in different ways. When you have a bunch of memories from areas and places that are not there anymore or have completely changed.
You feel that you're part of the history of the city itself.
I have always been really into detailed paintings and drawings and often, not always, worked on a larger scale. I draw all the time. On airplanes, when I am waiting for buses or just sitting somewhere,
in a crowded place or when I'm totally alone in a forest. I would say that I work as much outside of my studio as inside it. Since several years back I have been drawing in accordion style books.
These are easy to bring and take a good amount of space when folded out. When I work on a larger scale, I still keep the details small and tiny. I spend a lot of hours on the piece, in the "world".
It can be hard to document the work sometimes. When I post stuff on Instagram for example, I often show details. A couple of years ago I worked on a painting for one year, parallel with other things.
It was a great feeling to be able to work on something consistently and yet here and there, for that long.
No. I totally improvise when I work. I never do sketches. I throw away a lot of drawings if my gut feeling isn't right! I often have some idea in form of an air-skeleton for the work.
Like I can have an idea about doing a green painting, a big Toad feeling or a dry earthy one. I am interested in the feeling you can have in dreams. That the rooms are dissolved.
The architecture inconsistent. You don't really know if you're inside or outside or both at the same time. Morphing the space. I had a very vivid dream a couple of years ago.
In the dream I was waiting for a person. I was standing next to a door entrance on a street here in Stockholm. The day after I went to that exact place for real.
The door entrance wasn't there even if I still could remember it so well and detailed. The line or membrane between being awake and in the dream realm can be so thin.
I carried the feeling of that moment with me for the rest of the day. Like when you can feel the waves after you left the boat for land.
I try to be open with unexpected things I see and experience. Ordinary things, the mundane, news, memories and the spirit of a place.
I can put in a person or a room or an abstract form that wasn't planned at all from the start. Things that comes to me under the working process.
A lot of the folks in the paintings are people I have seen for real. Memories of people. Sometimes I have been working after a photo. For example, pictures of old relatives.
Sometimes I just start with a form, a colour and then later on add the outline, and the detailed characters comes out of that. Spontaneous figuration.
A lot of the figures and characters are not planned at all. They suddenly appear. I often lose track of time. What can feel like two hours can easily be six hours and so on.
It's a meditative flow sometimes.
The characters in the pictures can be like a chain of events. Like the shadow of a horse skull can turn into ivy or a pitchfork that leads to a stairway can open up like
a starry sky or a bold Sea. That freedom is important. Especially when I work in the streets, among people and so.
It's not a boring question! I have come to the conclusion that I get a lot of inspiration from not exactly knowing what a painting will turn into, how it will be in the end.
I like to surprise myself. I get a lot of inspiration from traveling, meeting people. Reading books and films. Since I was a child I have been inspired by the Hidden folk, folk lore and witchcraft.
Old folk Tales like the Grimm brothers. Trees and plants have been a source for as long as I can remember. Wandering in a beech forest or a dark spruce forest will totally affect my mind.
My two sons Leo and Jack inspire me a lot!
I recently started a collaboration with a fantastic American writer. She is a folklorist and plant historian. We'll see what comes out of it but we indeed have things in common!
I just started a solo exhibition here in Sweden, Sandviken. The title is Bewildered and it will run for a month. It's a generous exhibition with many works.
I am also close to complete an outdoor commission project where I have 8 permanent prints of drawings, on two Building facades.
Vernissage lördag 26 oktober kl. 13, i närvaro av konstnären
Konsthallen, fri entré
Bewildered på Konsthallen Sandviken