Peter Holzhauer: First Stone for a Film
October 26, 2019–January 25, 2020
Gallery Luisotti is pleased to announce its upcoming exhibition, Peter Holzhauer: First Stone for a Film. This marks Holzhauer’s first solo exhibition with the gallery. Featuring photographs made in Iceland during 2016, 2018, and 2019, First Stone for a Film is inspired by Chris Marker’s 1983 film Sans Soleil, during which the narrator states, “In Iceland, I laid the first stone of an imaginary film.” Motivated by Marker’s poetic handling of time, travel, and geography, Holzhauer’s work from Iceland situates human civilization in the precarious expanse of geologic time.
Alongside Chris Marker, Holzhauer’s image of the Icelandic landscape might be best encapsulated in Robert Smithson’s enigmatic 1968 essay “A Sedimentation of the Mind: Earth Projects.” In the essay, Smithson wrote, “It was as though one was at the bottom of a petrified sea and gazing on countless stratographic horizons that had fallen into endless directions of steepness.” Consider Smithson’s words in relation to Holzhauer’s focus on surface and atmosphere. The geology of sites the artist has captured appear monumental, and in each image that immensity is compounded by a perceptible flux. Clouds rise, water boils, the atmosphere weighs upon the land, and the earth appears to melt into itself.
Such are Holzhauer’s landscapes; but the work of First Stone for a Film situates signs of life within Iceland’s geology. Be it a three-legged cat that he encountered on the streets of Keflavik, the ruins of a plane engine (remnants of a 1942 US Air Force crash), or a garbage truck viewed through a hotel window, Holzhauer’s Iceland recalls another of Smithson’s assertions in “A Sedimentation…,” “The strata of the Earth is a jumbled museum.” Place, in Holzhauer’s First Stone for a Film, is defined by a sedimentation of the geologic and the social. Fragmentary architecture and human histories are equated with the tediousness of plate tectonics—a reminder (perhaps) of the fragility of human endeavor in the midst of climatic transformation.
First Stone for a Film is Peter Holzhauer’s first solo exhibition with Gallery Luisotti. The exhibition is also the Gallery’s second to take place in space #B2 of Santa Monica’s Bergamot Station. Holzhauer received an MFA degree from UCLA in 2007 and is currently a Lecturer of Fine Arts at the USC Roski School of Art and Design. Holzhauer’s work has been featured and/or reviewed in numerous venues, including Blind Spot, N+1, X-tra, and the Los Angeles Times. Holzhauer’s work has been a part of several exhibitions over the past decade, including Rogue Wave at LA Louver in 2013, Perfect Likeness at the Hammer Museum in 2015, and 2017’s Soil Erosion (organized by Shannon Ebner) at Altman Siegel Gallery in San Francisco.