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Peter Halley

The painting Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow by Peter Halley (1953), which immediately makes an impression because of its physical presence, oscillates bet-ween a material object and an aesthetic object. Peter Halley suggests the succession of sequences by linking several panels with a black and red stripe which, as the title indicates, embodies the passing of time. The work is related to the so-called Neo-Geo movement in which artists well versed in the formal vocabulary of the minimalists and American abstract painting produce large format works composed of signs on coloured backgrounds. Although he is associated with this pictorial tendency which emerged in the 1980s, Peter Halley is, however, sceptical about this label which has been applied mainly by art critics.

Peter Halley’s iconographic universe is composed of geometrical shapes that he refers to as “cells”, “prisons” or “conduits” and underlines the influence of mathematical and computer system models and the flow of communication on modern town-planning, social organisation and all aspects of life in a post-industrial society. By using unusual materials such as phosphorescent paint and imitation of synthetic plaster, the artist moves away from the “sublime” nature of painting posited by Barnett Newman and offers allegories which, although abstract, are not cut off from external reality.


  1. Peter Halley Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow, 1987

    Acrylique sur toile
    160 x 488 cm
    Collection Mudam Luxembourg
    Acquisition 1998
    Apport FOCUNA
    © Photo : Rémi Villaggi

Marina Abramović, "Video Portrait Gallery", 1975-1998 | Collection Mudam Luxembourg | Acquisition 2001
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