Albert Leo Peil

Scene I

14 May – 02 June 2022

Jan Kaps, Cologne

Jan Kaps, Albert Leo Peil, Scene I, Installation view

Installation view

Jan Kaps, Albert Leo Peil, Scene I, Lady Barbara Hutten Woolworth Dynasty in the modern art USA and the sarcophage by Dali, 1988
Coloured ink on paper
42 × 30 cm (16 ½ × 11 ¾ inches)

Lady Barbara Hutten Woolworth Dynasty in the modern art USA and the sarcophage by Dali, 1988
Coloured ink on paper
42 × 30 cm (16 ½ × 11 ¾ inches)

Jan Kaps, Albert Leo Peil, Scene I, La grand Dame d'Art opériale, 1996
Ink on paper
29.5 × 21 cm (11 ⅝ × 8 ¼ inches)

La grand Dame d'Art opériale, 1996
Ink on paper
29.5 × 21 cm (11 ⅝ × 8 ¼ inches)

Jan Kaps, Albert Leo Peil, Scene I, Installation view

Installation view

Jan Kaps, Albert Leo Peil, Scene I, Moon Argent, 1986
Ink on paper,
34 × 24 cm (13 ⅜ × 9 ½ inches)

Moon Argent, 1986
Ink on paper,
34 × 24 cm (13 ⅜ × 9 ½ inches)

Jan Kaps, Albert Leo Peil, Scene I, Installation view

Installation view

Jan Kaps, Albert Leo Peil, Scene I, Installation view

Installation view

Jan Kaps, Albert Leo Peil, Scene I, Earl of Sade, 1981
Coloured ink on paper
32 × 24 cm (12 ⅝ × 9 ½ inches)

Earl of Sade, 1981
Coloured ink on paper
32 × 24 cm (12 ⅝ × 9 ½ inches)

Jan Kaps, Albert Leo Peil, Scene I, Installation view

Installation view

Jan Kaps, Albert Leo Peil, Scene I, Graf von Bros, Pablo Picasso et Paloma Picasso by Tiffany, 1979
Coloured ink on paper
32 × 24 cm (12 ⅝ × 9 ½ inches)

Graf von Bros, Pablo Picasso et Paloma Picasso by Tiffany, 1979
Coloured ink on paper
32 × 24 cm (12 ⅝ × 9 ½ inches)

Jan Kaps, Albert Leo Peil, Scene I, Ostania, 1981
Ink on paper
32 × 24 cm (12 ⅝ × 9 ½ inches)

Ostania, 1981
Ink on paper
32 × 24 cm (12 ⅝ × 9 ½ inches)

Jan Kaps, Albert Leo Peil, Scene I, Seine Kaiserliche Hoheit Krohn-Prinz Hans Ferdinand von Preußen im Zeichen des Stieres Ghemos, 1985
Coloured ink on paper
30.5 × 23 cm (12 × 9 inches)

Seine Kaiserliche Hoheit Krohn-Prinz Hans Ferdinand von Preußen im Zeichen des Stieres Ghemos, 1985
Coloured ink on paper
30.5 × 23 cm (12 × 9 inches)

Jan Kaps, Albert Leo Peil, Scene I, Die Ängste und Leiden - schaften des Groß Meisters, 1990
Ink on paper
32 × 24 cm (12 ⅝ × 9 ½ inches)

Die Ängste und Leiden - schaften des Groß Meisters, 1990
Ink on paper
32 × 24 cm (12 ⅝ × 9 ½ inches)

Jan Kaps, Albert Leo Peil, Scene I, Installation view

Installation view

Jan Kaps, Albert Leo Peil, Scene I, Installation view

Installation view

Jan Kaps, Albert Leo Peil, Scene I, Huri d'Arabia, 1985
Coloured ink on paper
32 × 24 cm (12 ⅝ × 9 ½ inches)

Huri d'Arabia, 1985
Coloured ink on paper
32 × 24 cm (12 ⅝ × 9 ½ inches)

Jan Kaps, Albert Leo Peil, Scene I, Musealer Mönch Rafael mit den Musikanten des Peters Trasortos, 1987
Coloured ink on paper
50.4 × 37.4 cm (19 ⅞ × 14 ¾ inches)

Musealer Mönch Rafael mit den Musikanten des Peters Trasortos, 1987
Coloured ink on paper
50.4 × 37.4 cm (19 ⅞ × 14 ¾ inches)

Jan Kaps, Albert Leo Peil, Scene I, Installation view

Installation view

Jan Kaps, Albert Leo Peil, Scene I, Installation view

Installation view

Jan Kaps, Albert Leo Peil, Scene I, Installation view

Installation view

Jan Kaps, Albert Leo Peil, Scene I, Installation view

Installation view

Jan Kaps, Albert Leo Peil, Scene I, Urania Dali, 1985
Coloured ink on paper
32 × 24 cm (12 ⅝ × 9 ½ inches)

Urania Dali, 1985
Coloured ink on paper
32 × 24 cm (12 ⅝ × 9 ½ inches)

Jan Kaps, Albert Leo Peil, Scene I, Cabaret d'art exclusiv de nuit, 1980
Coloured ink on paper
32 × 24 cm (12 ⅝ × 9 ½ inches)

Cabaret d'art exclusiv de nuit, 1980
Coloured ink on paper
32 × 24 cm (12 ⅝ × 9 ½ inches)

Jan Kaps, Albert Leo Peil, Scene I, Installation view

Installation view

Jan Kaps, Albert Leo Peil, Scene I, Karin von Faber zu Stein bei Nürnberg, 1986
Ink on paper
30 × 21 cm (11 ¾ × 8 ¼ inches)

Karin von Faber zu Stein bei Nürnberg, 1986
Ink on paper
30 × 21 cm (11 ¾ × 8 ¼ inches)

Jan Kaps, Albert Leo Peil, Scene I, Masque vert macabre à la danse de mor, 1991
Coloured pencil and coloured ink on paper
32 × 24 cm (12 ⅝ × 9 ½ inches)

Masque vert macabre à la danse de mor, 1991
Coloured pencil and coloured ink on paper
32 × 24 cm (12 ⅝ × 9 ½ inches)

Jan Kaps, Albert Leo Peil, Scene I, Die Fragmente des Janus, 1986
Ink on paper
29.5 × 21 cm (11 ⅝ × 8 ¼ inches)

Die Fragmente des Janus, 1986
Ink on paper
29.5 × 21 cm (11 ⅝ × 8 ¼ inches)

Jan Kaps, Albert Leo Peil, Scene I, Installation view

Installation view

Jan Kaps, Albert Leo Peil, Scene I, L'exhibition d'amour l'oeuf, l'homme et pain à la Maître Dr Otto Grau, 1987
Coloured ink on paper
40 × 30 cm (15 ¾ × 11 ¾ inches)

L'exhibition d'amour l'oeuf, l'homme et pain à la Maître Dr Otto Grau, 1987
Coloured ink on paper
40 × 30 cm (15 ¾ × 11 ¾ inches)

Jan Kaps, Albert Leo Peil, Scene I,
Jan Kaps, Albert Leo Peil, Scene I, Rep. france, 1976
Pencil on paper
23.8 × 18 cm (9 ⅜ × 7 ⅛ inches)

Rep. france, 1976
Pencil on paper
23.8 × 18 cm (9 ⅜ × 7 ⅛ inches)

Jan Kaps, Albert Leo Peil, Scene I, Tout en famille a la Organdies d'Inter-Afrique, 1986
Pencil on paper
23.8 × 18 cm (9 ⅜ × 7 ⅛ inches)

Tout en famille a la Organdies d'Inter-Afrique, 1986
Pencil on paper
23.8 × 18 cm (9 ⅜ × 7 ⅛ inches)

Jan Kaps, Albert Leo Peil, Scene I, Pegasus anthropoide, 1985
Pencil on paper
23.8 × 18 cm (9 ⅜ × 7 ⅛ inches)

Pegasus anthropoide, 1985
Pencil on paper
23.8 × 18 cm (9 ⅜ × 7 ⅛ inches)

Jan Kaps, Albert Leo Peil, Scene I, Installation view

Installation view

Jan Kaps, Albert Leo Peil, Scene I, Inter-Afrique Oranides, 1986
Pencil on paper
23.8 × 18 cm (9 ⅜ × 7 ⅛ inches)

Inter-Afrique Oranides, 1986
Pencil on paper
23.8 × 18 cm (9 ⅜ × 7 ⅛ inches)

Jan Kaps, Albert Leo Peil, Scene I, Installation view

Installation view

Jan Kaps, Albert Leo Peil, Scene I, Installation view

Installation view

Jan Kaps, Albert Leo Peil, Scene I, Das Manteau mit Capricia, undated
Ink on paper
30 × 21 cm (11 ¾ × 8 ¼ inches)

Das Manteau mit Capricia, undated
Ink on paper
30 × 21 cm (11 ¾ × 8 ¼ inches)

Jan Kaps, Albert Leo Peil, Scene I, Installation view

Installation view

Jan Kaps, Albert Leo Peil, Scene I, Herren-Meister, undated
Ink on paper
30 × 21 cm (11 ¾ × 8 ¼ inches)

Herren-Meister, undated
Ink on paper
30 × 21 cm (11 ¾ × 8 ¼ inches)

Jan Kaps, Albert Leo Peil, Scene I, Installation view

Installation view

Jan Kaps, Albert Leo Peil, Scene I, Nyxtron N° V en bleu, 2000
Ink on paper
15 × 21 cm (5 ⅞ × 8 ¼ inches)

Nyxtron N° V en bleu, 2000
Ink on paper
15 × 21 cm (5 ⅞ × 8 ¼ inches)

Press release

Galerie Jan Kaps is pleased to present its first exhibition Scene I of work by Albert Leo Peil (1946–2019). The show marks the gallery’s beginning stewardship of the Peil estate. The first exhibition of Albert Leo Peil displays a selection of drawings, garments, and archival notebooks ranging from the late seventies to the two thousand tens. For the show’s duration, the gallery has been transformed into a darkroom, reflecting Peil’s architectural research. Almost entirely overlooked during his lifetime, Peil’s work combines issues of identity construction, queerness, and discourse on gender with sci-fi components as well as architectural elements, raising the genre of the portrait for discussion. 

Most of Peil’s drawings are characterized by their obsessive attention to detail. His drawings, executed mainly in ink, are generally populated by idealised figures embedded in tectonic and pointillistic landscapes. The stylized characters appearing in them often represent mythical and celestial entities and cultural icons, strikingly in Urania Dali, 1985, where the surrealist master is conflated with Urania, the Greek muse of astronomy. The holistic approach of identity construction is illustrated on both recto and verso of his works; many drawings are accompanied by painstakingly manicured notations ranging from personal comments to excerpts of poems, representing a deep and persistent exploration of queer sexuality and identity beyond the rigid gender norms of his time.

The bodies depicted in countless drawings seem to reify certain types of masculinity (L’exhibition d’amour l’oeuf, l’homme et pain à la Maître Dr Otto Grau, 1987), whilst simultaneously challenging patriarchal society by juxtaposing and combining these elements with female sexual organs, illustrating hermaphrodites and otherwise sexually ambivalent characters defying gender binaries. With genitalia often prominently displayed, undertones of fetishism emerge in the form of portraits of the Marquis de Sade or through countless sketches of elaborate footwear, costumes, and other ornamentation. Peil developed his own unique visual techniques to study the few outlets for queer desire and aesthetics offered by a still largely closeted society, engaging in the discourse around gender construction ahead of his time. 

The aesthetics of Peil’s work even seem to transcend temporal boundaries altogether when seemingly ancient figures are clothed in baroque robes but also wear sci-fiesque headgear inspired by French couturier Pierre Cardin's designs from his legendary 1960s Space Age collection. Throughout Peil’s work, the aesthetic language of garments seems to blend into the bodies they clothe. His own faux fur and velour creations, which he was known to wear, heavily perfumed, as he ran errands are testament to a gesamtkunstwerk, an exploration daring to go beyond the imagined into reality as he physically placed himself in the larger context of his work, casting himself an active participant in a lifelong quest for belonging. 

Born in 1946 in Berlin, Albert Leo Peil moved to the small Franconian town of Lauf an der Pegnitz and resided there until his death in 2019. With little formal arts training, save for two semesters at the Nuremberg Academy of Fine Arts under the tutelage of abstract painter Ernst Weil, Peil instead completed an apprenticeship as a decorator and earned his living outside the sphere of the arts.

Following Scene I, Jan Kaps presents Scene II, an exhibition focusing on the artist's embossed copper works.

We would like to thank Suzanne Zander and Nicole Delmes for their support in making this exhibition possible.