Born in 1966 in (Denmark)
Lives and works in (Denmark )
Liste expositions


Born in 1965 in Aarhus, Denmark, he lives and works in Copenhagen. From 1988 to 1994, he studied painting at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Art in Copenhagen and then at Goldsmiths College in London, where he received his diploma in 1995.


After his beginnings as a painter in the Abstract Expressionist tradition, Land quickly came up against the frustration of no longer knowing why he was painting. During his studies, however, he also discovered the video medium through the work of artists such as Bruce Nauman, Vito Acconci, Mike Kelley and Paul McCarthy. Thus, as of 1994, he began the work with video which gradually replaced his activity as a painter.


Land is the only actor in his videos, where he stages himself with a physical involvement which gives them certain aspects of performance. He first drew attention to his work in 1994 with a video entitled Peter Land 5th May 1994, where, making a clean sweep of his previous work, he stripped himself bare, in both the literal and the figurative sense of the term. In so doing, he seeks to show what remains when all the learned cultural and social values are unmasked, invalidated and eliminated: dead drunk, he brazenly reveals his imperfect body in a manifestation of vitality and a desire to exist in spite of it all.


In subsequent videos, he developed borrowings from slapstick comedies and the theatre of the absurd, where the initial laugh generated always gave way to the guilty feeling of being the uninvolved witness to something confused and painful. In 1995, he presented Pink Space, a video in which he plays the role of a second-rate comedian; decked out in a garish suit, he climbs onstage with a glass of whisky in his hand. Completely drunk, he tries to tell a story but is unable to hold up and continuously falls off of his bar stool. The process, continuously repeated with different variations accompanied by the outdated music of a piano bar, winds up taking on a disturbingly sad dimension.


After a three-year break, Land went back to drawing. These works, between caricature and comics, became a direct introduction to his imaginary world of anxieties, fantasies and dreams. Repeatedly referring to the myth of Sisyphus, he depicted situations in which the characters were condemned to fail, regardless of what they did. With the video Stepladder Blues (1996), Land pursued his work on this reference to Sisyphus through the image of a man climbing up a stepladder and constantly falling down again as he attempts to paint the ceiling of a room.


In 1998, in the basement of the C.P.C.A.-Bonnevoie building in Luxembourg, Land showed The Staircase, a video installation composed of two simultaneous projections on facing walls. The projection of a starry sky in gradual mutation gives the piece a protracted sense of time. Opposite this first video, Land appears, tumbling down several flights of stairs in a continuously repeated movement. With simple technical means, he thus took a new look at body art. Traditionally serious, moralising gestures now give way to humour and self-derision but also question the viewer through the absurdity of the actions depicted.


In The Lake, created in 1999 for an exhibit at Fri-Art, the Contemporary Art Centre in Fribourg, Switzerland, Land presents a hunter's last walk. This work, composed of a video and 12 photographs, shows the artist in  hunter's garb: with a shotgun on his shoulder and a flask of whisky at his side, he makes his way through the forest towards a lake. Filmed in documentary style, he strides to the sound of Beethoven's Sixth Symphony, the “Pastoral”. This stroll takes him to the lake, where he climbs into a small boat, rows to the middle and stops short. At that point, he fires on his own boat. This gunshot disrupts the seeming tranquillity of the scene and gives a new direction to the video: as the boat slowly sinks, the hunter remains stoically seated and finally disappears under the water. This form of suicide, at once absurd and tragic, resolves the mystery of this mise-en-scène, in which actor is only the passive object of fate.


In 2002, Land showed his sculptures, video works and drawings at the Mamco in Geneva in an exhibit entitled “Nemo on the Borderline”. This was the first time he worked in three dimensions, but also the first time he had shown his paintings in more than ten years.

The majority of the works in the show were related to the theme of the loss of control, both physical and mental, which can be felt in a state between awakening and sleep. This loss of control is represented by large figures in pyjamas whose arms and legs have become enormous limbs, like long pieces of spaghetti. On one of the monitors placed in the exhibition space visitors could also see a person continuously on the verge of falling asleep without ever succeeding, because of the sound of the church bells coming from the other monitor.


In most of his works, Land takes on the question of human behaviour in extreme situations or loss of control. In this way, he manages to reveal the total absurdity which such situations may generate.                                         


Laetitia Rouiller