Peter Klasen was born in 1935 in Lübeck, Germany. He has lived and worked in Paris since 1959.
A leading figure of the Figurative Narration since his pioneering exhibition in 1964 at the Musée d’Art Moderne of Paris (entitled “Mythologies Quotidiennes”) Klasen develops, in a quasi-obsessive and critical way, a visual language that targets the ambiguities of progress and technology. Gifted with a sharp consciousness of contemporary life, as well as a consumption-based society, Klasen is a committed, if not, rebellious artist. His body of work is inspired by the urban reality, its signs and codes. It crystallizes his worries, gathers his symptoms, while provoking thought and unchaining one’s imagination.
“My relationship with the city is contentious, and therefore, productive. It results in creative answers. By noticing the objects of our environment, by extracting them from functional utility […], I have developed a counteractive language, which resists the permanent aggression that the exterior world commits on me.”
One of Klasen’s medium of choice is photography. Exploring the cities, his frames isolate the significant element from its urban and social surroundings. Giving his images “as much objectivity as possible”, he captures the signs, the pictograms, the codes that constitute the limits, as well as the dangers of our industrial societies. This forced focus, to which he sometimes likes to violently confront the fragile feminine form, highlights the cold and traumatizing harshness of the perverse aspects of our world. To what extent do we really wish to be a part of it?
Klasen’s artworks have been exhibited around the world and can be found in numerous public collections (the Musée d’Orsay station in Paris, the former Forum des Halles, monumental sculptures in Portugal, in China, etc.), as well as both private and national institutions (Bibliothèque Nationale à Paris, Musée d’Art Moderne de la ville de Paris, Musée National d’Art Moderne – Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, Moma New York,as well as many other Modern and Contemporary Art museums around the world : London, Tokyo, Séoul, Berlin, Mexico, Geneva, Vienna, Brussels…)