While Peter Tollens’ paintings don’t represent anything in particular in the conventional sense, they offer the beholder answers to the question: What is color anyway? Whether Tollens applies paint to canvas, wooden panels or paperboard, his works are closer to reliefs than surfaces rendered from various layers of paint. The consistency of the oil and egg tempera paints that he prepares himself varies on account of their particular contents. This gives each of the color compositions an individualized materiality. The process leaves little concealed: even the application of the paint, i.e. the length and width of the individual brush strokes is eminently apparent to the viewer. However, Tollens is less concerned to create structures than textures, i.e. spatial arrangements of color surfaces in different layers that rely on their physical properties to elicit an aesthetic experience. The visibility of the image is thereby not only linked to its production at a practical level. Indeed, the perception of the process of production is a necessary part of the process that enables a capacity to perceive the image at all.
Born in Kleve in 1954, lives and works in Köln.