Peter Hammar works with everyday objects as sculpture with smart placement of lights and composition in spaces. We first saw his work during Scope Art Fair during Art Basel 2013 and his booth was a wonderful arrangement of simplicity and beauty. Hammar has an upcoming exhibition "Mapping Empty Spaces" at the Swedish American Museum in Chicago on March 7th. We had a chance to talk to him before the opening about his new work which addressses immigration and the many stories of the past and present.
Most of your latest work consists of everyday objects. What happens in the creative process that makes you select the objects that you do?
I use whatever materials I have at hand, it used to be paint and canvas, now I take whatever discarded material I find that is forgotten and has outlived it's purposes, I re-vamp it, give it a second life. Usually the object talks to me in regards to the subject matter/thought process I'm working on currently. It sort of falls into place naturally. And not to forget, as a struggling artist money is also part of it, out of necessity I have to look elsewhere for affordable materials.
How does light play into your installations, what is the relationship between object and illumination for you?
When I use moving programmed LED-lights it's a notion for time, when static light, it's more of painting the object/installation or highlighting some specific part that I wanna draw attention to. I find that light is a great way to emphasis negative space and shadows, which is a lot of times more fascinating and open ended. The light also works a in set designs for theater, it immediately sets the mood and carries multiple.
I love the balloon installation. Could you tell us a little about it?
The piece is titled 'Status Quo', it is a very experimental piece that I still have not quiet completed.. The fan on top of the plexiglas box is supposed to push down the helium balloon and keep it suspended, in a status quo, which seems to be an impossible state of being for just about anything, as it proved to be for the balloon, hence I had to use magicians thread to keep it in place. And it failed, somehow the constant failure of the piece and the Sisyphus task that it
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You are a transplant living in Miami. Is there a general aesthetic you feel is apparent from both places artistically? How do they differ? How do they unite?