Whitney Biennial 2014

Solo en Inglès

Hear directly from artists as they discuss the thoughts, processes, and ideas behind their work in the 2014 Biennial. The guide also features commentary from Biennial curators Stuart Comer, Anthony Elms, and Michelle Grabner.

425—Peter Schuyff


PETER SCHUYFF: I’m Peter Schuyff. 

Well, the pencils, they really are just something to do with my fingers. I have very busy, busy fingers. 

As a painter, at least once a year I thought to get absolutely as far away from painting as I possibly could. On one of those occasions I ended up in the highlands of New Guinea, really weeks’ walk from civilization. And at night I really didn’t have much to do, and there wasn’t a lot of light, so I carved these pencils. Every night I would make a stick and then in the morning I would climb a tree, bore a hole, and stick the corkscrew shaped sticks in these holes.

When I got back to New York, I had really nothing else to do. I was still basically as far from painting as I could possibly get. That kind of came hand in hand with a moment of great insecurity. And one of the things that I thought about with these pencils was, it could almost be a form of busking. I could almost imagine myself in some post-apocalyptic landscape. You know sitting on a street corner and making those for a couple of bucks a piece. 


Peter Schuyff, _Sans Papier_, 2004-14 (detail). Carved pencils and sticks, dimensions variable. Private Collection