Peter Klasen is a German artist known for his collage-like Pop Art paintings and prints. Using an airbrush, the artist contrasts images of industrial objects like pressure gauges and hydraulic circuits, with sexually charged images of nude women. These juxtapositions are the means by which the artist confronts themes of confinement, political control, and fear.
“The human body vanishes from Klasen’s work behind the heavy doors, grids, and covers of trucks, cars, prisons,” the critic Claude Bouyeure said of the paintings. “In a word, behind all these places which, physically, psychologically, symbolically, squeeze, enclose, isolate, oppress and which henceforth padlock the entire frontal aspect of the paintings.”
The artist was born in 1935 in Lübeck, Germany. His father died in World War II, an event that deeply wounded the artist growing up. Klasen went on to study at the Universität der Künste Berlin, where he absorbed the avant-garde ideas of Will Grohmann and Hans Richter. After moving to Paris in 1959, he helped found the La Nouvelle Figuration movement along with the artists Bernard Rancillac and Valerio Adami. The La Nouvelle Figurationist’s aim was to criticize consumer culture, rather than celebrate it, like for example Andy Warhol did.
Klasen's works are included in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and the Centre Georges Pompidou. The artist currently lives and works in Paris.