D / E


Peer Boehm. Cinema of the Mind
9 March – 20 April 2024, Opening: 7 March, 6-9 p.m.

“Cinema of the Mind” is the evocative title of Cologne artist Peer Boehm’s second solo exhibition at Galerie Poll, featuring new paintings and ballpoint pen drawings.

Our memories store childhood experiences, travel adventures, and political events alike as disorganised, often vague impressions. The artist taps into this collective reservoir of images, anchored so differently in each of us, in his works on canvas and paper. His aim is not to present a single “correct” perspective, as there are numerous images that might emerge in the viewer’s mind, depending on their age and range of experience. The exchange provoked by these differing personal impressions further adds to the allure of Boehm’s works.

“Cinema of the Mind” alludes not only to the act of remembering as a central theme in Peer Boehm’s artistic oeuvre, but also to a series of ballpoint pen drawings he has created for the exhibition on letterhead from the k.o. club, a society for avant-garde films founded in 1969 in Hannover. Boehm has selected ten motifs that relate thematically to the medium of his drawings. With picture titles such as “Finally, a Window to the Street”, “It Turned Out Well after All”, or “Remodelling Today”, the artist ushers the viewer into a world of cinematic associations.

Boehm finds his motifs in albums acquired at flea markets, in magazines, or on the internet. He abstracts people and places through digital editing, simplifying the motif through light and dark contrasts to the brink of unrecognisability, before transferring it onto canvas or paper for further artistic refinement.

His pictorial language is based on the principle of erasure, which juxtaposes contrasts of light and dark. One result is that his paintings and drawings resemble vague memories. Contemporary historical events are just as likely to feature as subjects as are mundane everyday scenes or traditional customs, such as “Berlin 1989” from 2024 depicting people dancing on the wall, “Playing Catcher” from 2021, or “The May Queen” from 2023.

Peer Boehm has developed a glazing technique where he transfers his motifs onto the canvas using watercolour, acrylic, and ink. At times he employs coffee or rust as painting materials, giving his motifs the appearance of faded photographs.

The layering of various glazes achieves a semi-transparent depth. Typically, a single colour dominates the paintings, often blue or brown. Boehm also produces works where he blends two motifs similar to a photographic double exposure, such as in the large painting “Antibes” from 2023. The blue background features the terrace of the exclusive Eden Roc Hotel carved into coastal cliffs. Over this, Boehm has added a striped sun umbrella in red paint, creating an image that evokes memories of a warm, shimmering summer’s day in France.

To set his ballpoint pen drawings, Peer Boehm has also developed a special technique. Once a drawing is complete, he takes up an iron. With years of accumulated experience, he manages to create areas in the drawings that appear watercoloured through a controlled process of chance, which adds additional depth.

Peer Boehm, born in Cologne in 1968, studied art history, archaeology, and German language and literature at the University of Cologne from 1990 to 1994. In 2021, he was awarded the Wesseling Art Prize, accompanied by an exhibition at the eponymous art association in 2023. His works were displayed in Berlin in 2022 at the Willy Brandt House. Until 21st April 2024, an overview of his work, featuring pieces created over a seventeen-year period, can be viewed at the Museum Modern Art Hünfeld. His works are held in private collections in Germany and internationally. Peer Boehm lives and works in Cologne.