Peter Weber (born in 1944) focuses in his oeuvre on folds. Unlike, for example, the works of Ben Muthofer, Weber’s folds only marginally touch on light and shadow as a theme and instead center on the aesthetics of construction. After studying under the rigorous Constructivist Max Hermann Mahlmann in Hamburg, he initially concerned himself with issues relating to Op Art and experimented with the false sense of space created by superimposed sets of lines. Creating space without adding anything to the surface is likewise the topic he addresses in his folds, which from the mid-1970s onwards gradually replace his Op Art pieces. Russian Constructivist El Lissitzky attempted back in the 1920s to engender an intimation of space in his painting by staggering geometrical shapes that were meant to have nothing to do with real space but were meant as the ideal, abstract space of art and ideas. In painting, the construction was intended to detach itself from the surface and expand outwards into three-dimensional space. What remained in El Lissitzky’s pieces a painted and mental sense of space is then enacted in Peter Weber’s folds. Although they depart from the planar surface and develop into three-dimensionality, works such as 3 Rechtecke I FW6 (2019) are not reliefs, but actually drawings of constructions that have overcome the surface. Here, Peter Weber devises a construction that succeeds in changing a white surface without cuts into it or collage-like additions to it, simply by relying on a complex technique of folds – such that three landscape rectangles seem to be superimposed one over the other in the center of the image. The geometrical shape as drawn becomes physical. The creation of a shape, the construction of a shape, and positing a definitive qua universally valid shape – these are the core ideas of Concrete Constructivist art such as evolved in the 20th century. This is ineluctably bound up with postulating perfection and precision. Peter Weber’s works in felt, for example both Diptych (2016), are absolutely perfect constructions. That said, are they also precise? It is almost miraculous that Weber manages to produce such complex folds using felt, a somewhat bulky material that actually resists movement. He is content to accept that unlike his paper foldings, those in felt have no precise edges. Indeed, he chooses felt as a material specifically because such precision is not possible. The material’s recalcitrance, its unwillingness, indeed its imperviousness to being folded can be sensed in every fold of the felt. Here, the intellect and the constructions it devises are in a permanent, intrinsic, and yet always present conflict with felt as a natural material. At the meta-level, Peter Weber’s folds are thus a marvelous metaphor for the conflict between the rational mind and nature.
Dr. Tobias Hoffmann