Carsten Ahrens, Many Many Colored Smarties or The Colors of a One-Dimensional World

In recent years, Ralf Peters has repeatedly found new ways of shedding light on the criteria for perception today. In this process, he has from the very outset endeavored to ensure his work did not require a great amount of material. Thus, he has digitally processed the images he has found – which ostensibly promise us a true depiction of the world – to create a variety of series in which specific contemporary phenomena are shown in a new light. In one of these series, he maltreats the phenomenon of gas stations. With a sense of ironic rigidity and seriousness, by means of the PC he tries to generate a pure architectural form for he uniqueness that each of these sales outlets of the global oil companies pretends to offer us – with all sorts of ornamental trappings. For this reason, he purges the gas stations of logos, lettering and ad billboards. He makes the buildings resemble one another – after all, their former variety has increasingly given way to one-dimensionality in the course of gradual rationalization through global marketing. What remains are beautifully illuminated buildings, which purportedly have an unmistakable identity thanks to their luminescent colors.

Peters is interested in the banal formula boasted by contemporary everday architecture. Once these are extracted from their urban surroundings in his pictures, the buildings ossify as formulas – like some secret signs of functionality that reflect the unwavering power of the business world. The semblance of colorful if vapid variety directs our gaze to the eradication of aesthetic difference that greets us wherever we tread in a modern city. Though blinded by the gleaming surfaces of these architectonic replicas, extracted by aestheticization from their commercial context, our perception is honed to form an in-depth critique of our notion of human architecture.