BIOGRAPHY: THOMAS PIHL
Born in Bergen, Norway in 1964. After breaking off his studies of music prematurely, he attended various art schools in Norway and the USA, among others, from 1989 to 1996, the National College of Arts and Design in Oslo, from 1994 to 1995, the School of visual Arts in New York City, and from 1997 to 1999, Hunter College of the City University of New York City.
The center focus of Thomas Pihl’s concept of art is his critical dialogue with the phenomenon of the (over-) aestheticizing of western or western-influenced, visual everyday culture and the confrontation with the cultural, political, and ethical implications of mass production and mass consumption of pictures. In his own words, he takes inspiration for his work “from observation, how every bit of New York City”, where he has been living, for the most part, since 1994, “is culturally and aesthetically manipulated and controlled”. Since 2000, Pihl has been working on the Prearticulations series. These works are paintings whose many layers are composed of semi-transparent acrylic paints which have been poured onto the canvas. With their smooth surfaces and their oscillating colors, Pihl captures the smooth and perfect aesthetics of the visual everyday culture, especially of electronically-produced pictures, subverting them at the same time: The special material and multi-layered process of production of his “pictureless” paintings demand a long, precise and concentrated contemplation from the viewer, who only very slowly comes to an understanding of the complex colors and the subtle differences and imperfections of the works. In this way, the act of viewing is to be summoned to the viewer’s consciousness as a critical and differentiated instrument of experiencing art, and thus, the world. In addition to the paintings which Pihl presently considers to be his major works, he also works in the media of drawing, photography and sculpture. A recent series of works, for example, consists of cheap, mass produced articles which he has transformed into new objects. – Since 1994, he has been living mostly in New York City, USA as well as in Bergen, Norway.