Europe

Peter Friedl
New Kurdish Flag

Peter Friedl’s projects place aesthetic questions within an expanded field that takes into account the social, political and philosophical context. This textile piece quotes and diverts a flag with a red background and the central star of the Kurdistan National Liberation Front (ERNK, a military organization linked to PKK, founded in 1985 and disbanded in 2000), and not the national flag of Kurdistan. The artist became interested as from 1994, when the town of Lice was destroyed by the Turkish army and the PKK was expelled from Germany. This flag got a lot of visibility in the media at the time.
The artist has lightened the red and emptied the central circle to question the role of the emblem as a representative sign for a group. Lightening and cutting out are ways of reclaiming all the complexities. New Kurdish Flag 01 considers the status of the flag as an object of propaganda which was activated in the streets during different performances, before being ‘museified’ and placed in a frame in 2005, in a semantic slip. The fabric acquires a political dimension. Is it still possible to reactivate it in the real world?

Many of the projects of Peter Friedl, in their heterogeneous medium and style, function as intersection points between countless lines of thought and reference, creating a vast didactic network where dialogues simultaneously merge with critical logic and narrative. Power, gender, language, history, identity, and territory mingle in the work of Friedl. His work radically shifts modernist rules of the making to methods conditioned by the social context. Thus, in the work "Playgrounds" (2004), a set of color slides of public playgrounds around the world, is thought of by the artist as "an aesthetic ethnography that examines the playground as the scene where 'small' subjects, children, make their first public experiments." The images convey more information than it seems at first glance. Friedl has underlined that "commentaries, speech and any kind of information in the background remain invisible and has simply become a component of the series."
Peter Friedl was born in 1960 in Austria where he lives and works today.