the european biennial of contemporary art
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Peter Friedl

1960, Oberneukirchen, AT Lives in Berlin, DE

Theory of Justice, 2006 –2008 Black and white photographs, 55,5 × 74,5 cm Postcards, 2007 Color prints, two sets of seven photographs, 83 × 62 cm


The everyday uses of representation respond to both aesthetics and politics. Peter Friedl’s work inhabits the gap and tension between these two notions while it confronts art history with genres of expression, the biographical with social and political histories. His Postcards series consists of scanned, enlarged and reprinted postcards. One set, images of dogs and toy cats, was sent in 1963 from Switzerland by the artist’s mother to her young son; the son sent the second set, depicting castles, harbors, landscapes, historic sites, artworks and tourist attractions across Europe, to his mother in the summer of 1976. Closing the gap between document and artifact, the Postcards series deals with intimacy, memory and loss: the images are made public but the written contents on the rear are censored.
The ongoing project Theory of Justice refers to US philosopher John Rawls (1922–2002), whose A Theory of Justice and Justice as Fairness are classic examples of political liberalism, presenting the possibility of a well-ordered society based on overarching consensus among its members. However, in the current global drama of exclusion and marginalization, conflict takes the place of consensus. It employs the logic of the political as resistance to the dispositifs of administration, police repression, and institutional regulation – putting theories of justice out of touch with reality. Every theory draws a picture of the world. But what happens if images themselves want to become theory? What is, or what achieves, pictorial justice?



ANSELM FRANKE/HILA PELEG: "THE SOUL (or, Much Trouble in the Transportation of Souls)"