A post-Minimal roadside peepshow, Hafgerdingar is designed to be viewed one person at a time. Entering a dark room alone, the viewer stands in the shadows until light slowly allows the perception of a blue mirage, which nearly fills the far wall. The work, revealing itself over time, is based on aluminum highway signs and is built with highly-visible reflective blue sheeting. The show acts as a meditative space, to train one’s focus; a site for the viewer to consider their own body and vision as a creator of the artwork. The work is present and absent, alone on a darkened road with you; it’s an object that might be only a vision.
Erik L. Peterson’s work is dangerous play. Toying with ideas of permanence and mortality in traditional sculpture, Peterson subverts these themes with subtle shifts in scale and distance, mirroring and twinning, comic interplay, and urban camouflage.
Humorously delving into the extraordinary properties of ordinary things, his sculptures have a self-effacing edge: ice cream sculptures melt and consume themselves over time (Cream Cycle, Soft Palate), identical cars are infinitely towed away and replaced (Two Tow’n). Peterson’s sculptures lure the viewer to look closely, to become enveloped, and sometimes even to lick.
Peterson’s performative sculptures, public artworks and urban choreographies have been shown in group shows at the University of Nebraska in Omaha, Arizona State University, Eastern Illinois University, and A+D Gallery at Columbia College, and in solo exhibitions at Bert Green Fine Art, Happy Collaborationists, Chicago Artists’ Coalition, and on Daley Plaza under “The Picasso” by Chicago’s Department of Special Events and Cultural Affairs. He is best known for his 100 foot long inverted highway sign Inner State, forklift ballet Square Dance, and Seep, a 40 foot long neon sculpture created for EXPO CHICAGO in 2014. Peterson is also a founder of Hyde Park Kunstverein, a community museum that exhibits solo projects by international artists, architects, and filmmakers on Chicago’s South Side and Qeej Hero, a transcultural video game featuring the ancient Hmong wind instrument, the qeej.