September 15, 2020

Pieter Schoolwerth at Petzel Gallery

In the midst of a Covid-19 lockdown, Pieter Schoolwerth explores how we now live our lives through avatars as a representation of our physical selves
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About the Exhibition - Shifted Sims

Shifted Sims is Pieter Schoolwerth’s first solo exhibition at Petzel Gallery, on view at their Chelsea location until October 31st. The exhibit is meant to represent our lives during the lockdown. 

Pieter Schoolwerth at Petzel Gallery
“I made most of the show during the lockdown in New York, and in putting on a mask every day, while doing many of the things through Zoom that, at one point in life, I once did in person, I began to feel almost like I was now navigating a simulation of a former life I used to live. It was as if I’d migrated into a strange new space in between my body and the world. Spending so much time alone in quarantine communicating with dozens of faceless profile icons each day, their ‘shifty’ status becomes more ominous.” - Pieter Schoolwerth (source
Pieter Schoolwerth at Petzel Gallery
Pieter Schoolwerth at Petzel Gallery
“This show begins from thinking how painting can represent this weird new ‘once-removed’ reality we’re living, and particularly how can I represent an avatar body in a simulated world – that being a figure that is covertly controlled by another person – which is not unlike how I often feel I’m remotely steering my own avatar each day now.”  Pieter Schoolwerth (source
Pieter Schoolwerth at Petzel Gallery
Pieter Schoolwerth at Petzel Gallery

If you’ve ever played The Sims, your heart will explode with nostalgia when viewing this exhibit (I know mine did). 

Pieter Schoolwerth at Petzel Gallery
Pieter Schoolwerth at Petzel Gallery
“He pulls these scenes from screenshots of The Sims 4, the strategic life-simulation computer game where anything goes—or does it? Trailing every avatar is an estranged silhouetted double, snapped into existence by the “shift” of Shifted Sims.” (source
Pieter Schoolwerth at Petzel Gallery
Pieter Schoolwerth at Petzel Gallery
“In the case of The Sims 4 narratives, avatars meeting each other inside of the game to strategically perform their lives, as we’re basically all doing on Zoom now.”  - Pieter Schoolwerth (source
Pieter Schoolwerth at Petzel Gallery
Pieter Schoolwerth at Petzel Gallery

Schoolwerth process consists of combining photographs (or screenshots in this case) with 3D sculptures as well as oil paint. 

Pieter Schoolwerth at Petzel Gallery
“In his work, the stuff of paint itself reappears as a supplement only at the end of a complex, multi-media effort to produce a figurative picture depicting the ‘once removed’ space of the virtual.” - VCU (source
Pieter Schoolwerth at Petzel Gallery
Pieter Schoolwerth at Petzel Gallery
“Basically, it felt like a computer fell in love with the medium of painting and decided to start making its own work.” - Juxtapoz (source
Pieter Schoolwerth at Petzel Gallery

About the Artist - Pieter Schoolwerth

Pieter Schoolwerth lives and works in New York. He attended the California Institute of the Arts.

Pieter Schoolwerth at Petzel Gallery

Schoolwerth also ran a record label for 10 years - Wierd Records and the Wierd Party at Home Sweet Home on the LES of NYC.

Pieter Schoolwerth at Petzel Gallery

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