Spotlight: Peppi Bottrop’s Riotous Drawings in Coal Capture an Evolving Understanding of Nature’s Chaos

"Jungle Rapture" marks the artist's solo debut with Pilar Corrias.

Peppi Bottrop, 2020.
Peppi Bottrop, 2020.

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About the Artist: German artist Peppi Bottrop (b. 1986) shares his name with his hometown of Bottrop, Germany, an industrial city in what once was one of Europe’s most prosperous coal-mining regions. The last mine only closed three years ago, but in the artist’s lifetime, he has simultaneously witnessed efforts to rewild the area—efforts that reveal a changing understanding of nature, from a brutal force to be tamed to a delicate ecosystem essential to human survival. These ideas inform Bottrop (a student of Albert Oehlen’s), who utilizes actual coal to make marks in entangled systems that call to mind pipes, subterranean systems of mines, and even root systems of plants. In “Jungle Rapture,” the artist’s first exhibition at London’s Pilar Corrias gallery, these gestures have become more fluid, even lyrical, and seem to generate from within themselves. 

Peppi Bottrop, ScMuli (2021). Courtesy of Pilar Corrias.

Peppi Bottrop, ScMuli (2021). Courtesy of Pilar Corrias.

Why We Like It: The artist’s work has been described as “the manic cartography of an urban flaneur,” and indeed there is something maplike about these riotously dynamic creations. Rather than remaining planted in any reality, the works can have the feel of science fiction, with sprawling systems that conjure up fantastical charts of time and distant galaxies. Other times, his drawings feel of the earth itself: Recent works in the exhibition include reddish grid structures that conjure up fenced-in brownfields or references to Germany’s now-obsolete rust belt. 

According to the Artist: “‘It’s dark in front of the pickaxe,’ says the miner. So what the next blow, the next day, the next year will bring, we can only know when we have started to work. It is dark in front of the pickaxe,” wrote the artist of his practice. 

See images from “Jungle Rapture” below.

Installation view “Peppi Bottrop: Jungle Rapture” 2021. Photography by Mark Blower. Courtesy of the artist and Pilar Corrias, London

Installation view, “Peppi Bottrop: Jungle Rapture,” 2021. Photo: Mark Blower. Courtesy of the artist and Pilar Corrias, London.

Installation view “Peppi Bottrop: Jungle Rapture” 2021. Photography by Mark Blower. Courtesy of the artist and Pilar Corrias, London

Installation view, “Peppi Bottrop: Jungle Rapture,” 2021. Photo: Mark Blower. Courtesy of the artist and Pilar Corrias, London.

Installation view “Peppi Bottrop: Jungle Rapture” 2021. Photography by Mark Blower. Courtesy of the artist and Pilar Corrias, London

Installation view, “Peppi Bottrop: Jungle Rapture,” 2021. Photo: Mark Blower. Courtesy of the artist and Pilar Corrias, London.

Installation view “Peppi Bottrop: Jungle Rapture” 2021. Photography by Mark Blower. Courtesy of the artist and Pilar Corrias, London

Installation view, “Peppi Bottrop: Jungle Rapture,” 2021. Photo: Mark Blower. Courtesy of the artist and Pilar Corrias, London.

Peppi Bottrop: Jungle Rapture” is on view at Pilar Corrias, 54 Eastcastle Street, London W1W 8EF, through January 8, 2022.


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