“We’ve adopted the Google ideal of the mind, which is that you have a question that you can answer quickly: close-ended, well-defined questions. Lost in that conception is that there’s also this open-ended way of thinking where you’re not always trying to answer a question. You’re trying to go where that thought leads you. As a society, we’re saying that that way of thinking isn’t as important anymore. It’s viewed as inefficient.” - Teddy Wayne
I discovered Peter Bonde via Instagram. While scrolling the account of my favorite my gallery, I came across the Danish painter's work. I was instantly attracted to the energy conveyed in his brushstrokes, use of color, and well-balanced compositions. At first glance, I didn't realize that he paints on mirror foil because the oil paint he uses often obscures the setting and camera tripod that are reflected in the photo. Since I'm an art history nerd, I've spend hours trying to research his work, but I haven't found much. According to the galleries that represent him, Bonde is a very established artist in Denmark and has participated in numerous exhibitions since the 1980s.
Abstract art has always been whatever to me. The art market is saturated with mediocre abstract artists trying to rip off the mid-century painters but lacking intention. In a sea of abstraction, I think it's hard to crave out a distinct style while also pushing the story of art forward. Nevertheless, artists never rest.
In my opinion, Bonde's work is important to the story of art for two reasons. First, he pushes the genre of abstract painting forward by his innovative use of materials. By using mirror foil as backdrop for his furious brushwork he creates a sort of transcendent illusion. The painting can change its appearance depending on where it is installed, lighting, and proximity of objects or viewers. Bonde also experiments with painting by incorporating "perishable materials, assemblage, collage, painting on canvases with pre-printed photographs, and installation of video screens on the canvas." Second, to view one of Bonde's paintings in person is to be part of the work itself. To meditate on his work is to reflect on yourself and see yourself as art. This idea of reflection or lack thereof is a poignant commentary of our times.
Several of his works depict photographs that read "Fear of Reflection." Of course, there's a hint of sarcasm to read that phrase while looking at mirrored painting. In his article The End of Reflection, Teddy Wayne examines how technology and our instant access to information and answers has usurped our ability to reflect. Informed by this article, I can't help but obsess over how beautiful Bonde delivers this point through oil and foil.