concrete, wood, ceramics, zinc, pump, water 350cm x 250cm x 280cm
Peles Empire is a collaborative work by Katharina Stoever and Barbara Wolff that takes as its source material the interior architecture of the Romanian castle of Peles. Constructed across the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, the castle was designed and decorated in accordance with a medley of period styles stretching from Renaissance to the Gothic, German Baroque and French Rococo. The curiously ersatz, fractured and disassociated personality that this superabundance of fashions lends to the residence, now preserved as a tourist attraction, was attractive to two artists exploring the dissolution of public and private identities and the mimetic impulses of a society increasingly abstracted from the empirical circumstances of its existence. Stoever and Wolff have since 2005 exhibited disfigured re-enactments of the castle’s interior, papering walls with images taken in the building and sculpting surrealist interpretations of the furniture. The work thereby reconstructs an already inauthentic world, a reality warped beyond recognition by the distorting effects of innumerable imperfect reproductions. In operation, too, is a curious cultural exchange. The derivative interior of this Romanian castle, a statement of recently achieved independence pieced together from decorative styles made popular by more powerful neighbouring states, is now reimagined and exported to exhibition venues including Frankfurt, Los Angeles and London. It is not incidental to their project, therefore, that Peles Empire also runs two mirroring exhibition spaces in London and Cluj, Romania.
Peles Empire is a collaborative work by Katharina Stoever (born in Germany in 1982) and Barbara Wolff (born in Romania in 1980). They run two mirroring spaces in London and Cluj. Exhibitions presented in the spaces include Shannon Bool (2011); Paul McCarthy’s Cap, and Kerstin Cmelka (2010). Peles Empire participated in Frieze Projects (2011). Group shows include Minstrel & Chronicle at Hannah Barry Gallery (2012), entrance, entrance at Temple Bar Gallery, Dublin (2012), Space Revised and GAK, Bremen (2009). They were also selected for Bloomberg New Contemporaries (2010 & 2011) and have received the Schindler MAK Scholarship, Los Angeles (2007), the Hessian Travel grant 2011 and the Deutsche Bank Award 2009.