Journey of discovery

Peter Brüning – Straßenwand

Peter Brüning, Straßenwand, 1968, chipboard, polyester, stainless steel, painted iron sheets, electrical equipment, 330 x 580 x 90 cm Ludwig Forum für Internationale Kunst Aachen, loan of the Peter and Irene Ludwig Foundation, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2020, photo: Carl Brunn

Dots in rows, black-and-white dashed lines, and segments of a circle in different styles: From around the mid-1960s, the diagrammatic symbols of applied graphics arouse the artist’s interest. Especially the pictograms of traffic signs and cartography constitute for Brüning the ideal combination of abstract and concrete patterns of representation. A formal language that was going to be established as German pop art. 

Brüning returns the symbols that roads, traffic lights and signs have been reduced to for the two-dimensional space to threedimensional objects, and thus develops a new way of depicting the landscape. Straßenwand, with its conical, tapered serpentine lines, mirror surfaces, and orange lights in the background, stands for the congested roads in urban areas. But in addition to the reference to the changes in the modern industrial landscape, there is also the expression of a new wanderlust underneath the “chaos”.