Peter Adsett, Painting's Back


23-26 MARCH 2016


Painting's Back is a large scale site-specific installation by New Zealand-born artist Peter Adsett, which presents the viewer with a playful meditation on the complicity between abstract painting and architecture.

The element of play in the work attaches to the concept of interior decoration, which is
usually differentiated from serious art practice insofar as it is applied to a pre-existing space. Whilst evoking decorativeness, it is Adsett’s aim to rejoin shapes and materials with the walls in a way reminiscent of the era of trompe l’oeil fresco painting. In the process he returns the struc- tural and spatial dimensions of a room to the flat surface of painting.

The entrance walls, front and back, have been treated in such a way as to make these ideas in- escapable. Torn and stripped wallpaper interact with paint in such a way that the wall no longer operates simply as a “support”. Layers of material peel away to expose undersides and reverses, all the while creating subtle lines and shadows. The reverse of the wall adds another level of complication.

Adsett challenges our perception in confusing the ground of painting. As with the great collages of the twentieth century, all materials compete to be identified as ground or figure. In the end we conclude that the only ground is the one where we stand. The perspective is all embracing.


Peter has been invited to speak on a daily program of panels and debates, that will feature a talk on art and architecture in the new age.


Peter Adsett’s paintings in the PAULNACHE booth will closely relate to his major installation project, 'Paintings Back', on the entrance wall to the Hong Kong Art Central fair in 2016. The overt flirtation with architecture and interior decoration in the installation will, however, continue with greater subtlety in the individual works exhibited.

The paintings reveal Adsett’s admiration for the tradition of abstract painting and its prefiguration in the collages of Picasso. Wallpapers and acrylic paint are the chief materials, tricking the eye by virtue of their competing flatness.

Above all, white is made to operate as a residual, or 'ghost' image, against minimal edges. In this way, the artist evokes walls that remain after paintings and their fixtures are removed – an era- sure, if you like, that speaks to the wall and the back of painting. Penetrating the surface of paint- ing, he investigates what distinguishes inner walls from their surfaces.

In sum, Adsett’s paintings will be a conversation between painting, architecture. Surfaces and the viewer, painting the contention that abstract painting must always relate to the wall and create dialogue to its physical context. 


Art Central returns to the iconic Central Harbourfront 23-26 March 2016, with over 90 exhibitors showcasing the next generation of talent alongside some of the most established contemporary galleries from across Asia and the globe.

Housed within the city’s largest ever, architect-designed temporary structure, the fair will produce a dynamic program that includes interactive installations, cutting-edge new-media, engaging panel discussions, as well play host to some of Hong Kong’s hottest eateries.

The inaugural Art Central welcomed almost 30,000 art collectors, VIPs and the art-loving public from Hong Kong and around the world, adding a fresh new style to Hong Kong Art Week and immediately establishing itself as the must-see event within the annual calendar.

Peter Adsett, Artist Biography [English 31 KB]
Peter Adsett, Artist Biography [Mandarin 98 KB]
Peter Adsett, Price Sheet [English 30 KB]
Peter Adsett, Price Sheet [Mandarin 41 KB]
Peter Adsett, Project P04 [33 KB]

All photography © PAULNACHE 2016 (Tom Teutenberg) #peteradsett #paintingsback