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ARTIST STATEMENTS :
Antje Peters was born in West-Berlin, Germany. In 2000, she moved to The Netherlands to study Photography at the Hogeschool voor de Kunsten in Utrecht. Since her photography degree, she works as an artist with the medium photography and as a commercial photographer. In 2016 she returned to her hometown where she is currently based. Her work has been shown at C/O Berlin, Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam and materialised into various artist books sold at international art book fairs like Off Print Paris and NYABF. Commercially, she contributes regularly to international print-magazines and has shot online campaigns for Rimowa and Louis Vuitton.
‘My work as an artist takes the existing stereotype of the medium of photography as its focus. Photography of the product becomes the subject within my work itself. Well known visual strategies of the advertising world are analysed and broken down with an artistic approach. Art as well as commercial photography change and influence each other.’
Because Peters loves sharing her knowledge, she taught the ‘Applied Photography’ - course at ECAL, Lausanne (CH) in 2019.
As an artist working with photography, my work starts from the notion of the current omnipresence of photographic imagery in both ‘high’ (elite) and ‘low’ (popular) cultures. I take the existing stereotype of the medium photography as it’s focus.
In an attempt to get a grip on the never-ending production and dissemination of photographic imagery, at my final year at art school (2005-2006) I started to set up an structure for my (then and future-) series titled ‘The Free Catalogue - Archive Series'. The starting point of this project was deeply influenced by the work of German photographer August Sander (1876-1964) and his way of creating a catalogue of archetypes, as demonstrated in his magnum opus Menschen des 20. Jahrhunderts (People of the 20th Century).
My initial confusion about the contemporary nearly never-ending ‘stream of images’, was given ground by Sanders’ way of categorization. By means of my self-created archive of photographs, I try to funnel my experience and perception of mainly advertising, fashion and product imagery with which I find myself surrounded, and the images I have absorbed in the past - on the internet, in magazines and books, or in public space.
On the first glance, going through ‘The Free Catalogue’, a stock photography catalogue might come to mind. But the growing catalogue of my own photographic series is a personal reflection on existing image stereotypes.
Up to this day, I still organize my images in this structure. My series are numbered and have titles such as III. The Garden, IV. Ads, VI. The Breakfast, VII. Poster, XI. Illusion and XV. Shopnow.fr, Goodie Bags. (This structure does not apply for my commercial work).
In the past 5 years, I have worked regularly as a commercial photographer in the fashion and advertising industry, shooting product and fashion editorials for print magazines and online campaigns for Rimowa or Louis Vuitton. Nevertheless ‘The Free Catalogue’ has been a constantly growing with new series. Because of my commercial photography work, it seems, I become even more aware of the stereotypes I am referring to in my personal series.
To me, Art, as well as commercial photography change and influence each other.
Lately, I like to allude to the aesthetics of e-commerce imagery as it’s aspects have become a new image stereotype (i.e. the white backdrop). But instead of working swiftly by shooting digital I still employ the large format camera, shooting my images on 4 x 5 inch negative film stock. This means a more time-consuming workflow with quite some handiwork involved. I like to reflect on the contradistictions between the fast pace of online imagery and the raher slow process of working with analogue techniques. I like to slow thing down on purpose.
Some of my photographs have been materialised into books and/or framed objects.
In exhibitions, the intermediate zone of decoration and art installation is of interest to me, raising questions about the influence of commercialism and shop window design on the concept of ‘Art’ and the art installation (and vice versa). My images, presented in colourful or matching frames on stands, let the photographs become objects, they become products themselves. Both image and its placement together serve and re-examine the fine line between art and decoration.
(…) Antje Peters’s works deliberately deconstruct the concept of perfect high-gloss photography: she paints expensive cosmetic products with felt-tip pens and tapes them into amorphous bundles with adhesive tape that she positions in the middle of the photograph, or she bunches colored pencils together with a Swatch wristwatch. A spilled glass of water, exotic fruits, perfume, marbles, currency, and CDs are arranged more chaotically than perfectly choreographed with soft candy, playing cards, and hair shampoo on a black background—she is always interested in the handicraft behind the perfect, smooth, and cold appearance of digital product photography. This artistic departure from known visual strategies in the advertising world is also being reflected in the presentation of her framed works at C/O Berlin, by consciously balancing between commercial window display and artistic installation. (…)
C/O Berlin, 2017