V1 GALLERY PROUDLY PRESENTS
Babel Tales
A solo exhibition by Peter Funch

Peter Funch has established himself as one of Denmark's most interesting contemporary art photographers. Ever since he graduated from the Danish School of Journalism in 2000 his works have been hailed by both audience and various prize committees. Peter Funch's latest feat was winning Diesel New Art's first prize in the photo category in 2006. He did this with the triptych Xing Xs, which comprised three pictures taken from the same street corner in New York.

In addition to winning a prize, Xing Xs also set the tone for the pictorial symphony Babel Tales which is a landmark in Peter Funch's artistic career. The exhibition consolidates his almost anthropological ability to create patterns in the world's haphazardness and at the same time the exhibition emphasizes his desire to challenge the beholder's understanding of 'reality' and 'fiction'.

All the pictures in the exhibition have been taken during a span of 10-14 days from six different street corners in New York. At first glance the pictures resemble random snapshots of the often-photographed streets of New York. But on closer examination the pictures expand and blossom into colourful anecdotes about contingent details that suddenly become the glue which keeps the street scene together. Peter Funch thereby creates a series of fairy tale-like parallel worlds which are both familiar and alien at the same time. This is for instance illustrated in the work 'Observing Observers', where a crowd in a street in unison orient themselves towards a certain location outside the frame of the picture. As the title of the picture implies one beholds a group of observers, but it is uncertain what these observers are observing. On reflection one understands however that it is also uncertain what oneself is observing. The manipulation is complete.

Reality and fiction are consequently two sides of the same poetic story. And precisely the poetic sprinkling is an essential constituent of the composite exhibition. Babel Tales is in itself a tale of the paradoxical nature of fiction and the catch 22 of realism. And at the same time the exhibition is a collection of visual short stories about people, animals, things and atmospheres told from a street corner in New York.

The title of the exhibition is a reference to the vision of the Babel Tower, but it also alludes to the writer Paul Auster's story City of Glass from the famous New York Trilogy (just like there are traces of Auster's christmas classic for adults Auggie Wren's Christmas Story in the project itself). Furthermore Peter Funch is like Auster no stranger to New York the city has formed the backdrop for several of Funch's projects, eg. the prize winning series Red Rush (2000) from Chinatown and the prize winning series NYC September 2001 (2001) from Ground Zero.

Babel Tales is moreover a distinctive exponent of a larger tendency in contemporary art - a tendency to confuse the borders between 'reality' and 'fiction'. This tendency, which one could call consequential realism, can also be seen in other artistic categories such as the British documentary Death of a President (2006) by Gabriel Range, the far reaching art project My Doomsday Weapon (2003) by Jakob Boeskov and the widely discussed book House of Leaves (2000) by Mark Z. Danielewski.

Download PDF