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Peter Seelig

Peter Seelig and the Art of Repetition

Repetitions means to perform the same action over and over again. Repetition means perfection. Artist...

Peter Seelig and the Art of Repetition

Repetitions means to perform the same action over and over again. Repetition means perfection. Artists in particular are driven by this urge. Often enough, specific training already begins in early childhood, especially in fields relying on fine motor skills, such as music and dance. This is also true for the Fine Arts, although there are hardly any rules for the paths leading to a profession in this field. But practicing routine movements and techniques are just as essential.

The era of Classic Modernism is marked by the art of repetition. Edgar Degas, for instance, experimented by constantly varying a certain motif in monotype. Using linoleum cuts, Picasso, too, continuously developed individual versions of a particular painting. This use of reproductive technique makes it possible to repeat motifs as well. The work of individual artists as well as Art History in general are characterised by methods and techniques that were adapted from other masters, taken over and imitated beyond the distance of space and time. It is much more difficult to capture psychological processes triggered by individual and manual repetition of certain procedures. Only the performer can access this particular level of action. Perhaps this compulsion for repetition may be misunderstood. It may appear disturbing or even manic to the outside observer. Recently, the case of Erwin Hapke caused a sensation. Hapke lived like a hermit in Unna, Northern Germany. He had filled his house, from the cellar to the attic, with hundreds of thousands of origami figures. It was not until after his death that this walk-in installation was discovered.

Repetitions may also be a concept, such as with Hanne Darboven. With the Loop Technique, the culture of repetition conquered the media. In the case of Peter Seelig, repetition becomes relevant in the apparently archaic act of drawing. This is completely integrated in everyday life. Drawing determines the daily routine, it structures and clocks it. Seelig produces, on average, three drawings a day. Their inspirations are blind drawings, made mostly during dance performances. These drawings are, however, more than an end in itself. They are posted in social networks on a daily basis, where they enter the global stream of information and communication.

They are usually combined with a comment or a status update. This digitalised re-use of the drawing forms a significant element of Peter Seelig’s work. It brings together two spheres: His existence as an IT expert and as an artist. In addition, it is paradigmatic for the contemporary culture of creativity. Social media platforms are catalysts for production, in which showing, commenting and sharing form a symbiotic relationship. An incredible number of drawings are available in the website archive. Here, you can click through Seelig’s images all the way back until 2007. Drawings thus become capsules of time. They represent individual memory. In this way, the artist grants observers a voyeuristic glance inside a hermetically sealed word. Seelig’s vocabulary of forms and shapes in his drawings are reminiscent of the art of the 1920’s, as well as figurative tendencies of the post-WW II era, above all of the Art Brut. Frequently, they are treated in a decorative manner. The forms which Peter Seelig finds and invents manifest themselves in a variety of ways. Pencil sketches are recreated three-dimensionally, for instance, using wire. It is not uncommon for digital translations and adaptations to follow what was initially a concept for a painting.

All of this is to be read in context with the classic canon of literature, music and the performing arts. Seelig has incorporated these fields like few other artists. He draws inspiration from them and adds his individual annotations to them. Seelig works as a draftsman as well as a photographer who produces videos and sounds. It is the availability of digital media, with the computer and the smartphone as points of intersection, which renders these transmedia processes possible. Peter Seelig uses them to their fullest potential.

Dr. Maria Männig, 2016


Born in Vienna in 1948, lives and works in Vienna

1968 Paris - First experiencies on theater, literature, philosophy and visual art. This time has shaped my life and has not ended to this day.

Studies in mathematics, physics and philosophy in Vienna. In 1998 Switzerland became my inner hub. Earth, water, time, space and quantum physics become a tangible experience. Rediscovering Paul Klee in the ZPK in Bern determines my decision to paint again.

Since 2000 intensification of my painting and drawing activity. Blind drawings during theater and ballet performances became the basis of a large part of my work. I learned to see with hands or what I see forms my hand without looking at the paper. Movement and change thus create an immediate four -dimensional topology. First attempts with a digital art.

My repeated Italy travelings become a second home (Pietrasanta, Como, Venice) Exhibitions in Austria and France since 2005.