Peter von Tiesenhausen

About the Artist

Born in 1959, Peter von Tiesenhausen is a painter, sculptor, draughtsman and  performanceAn art form in which the actions of a person or group in a particular place at a particular time constitute the artwork; all works of performance art therefore incorporate time, space, the performer’s body, and the relationship between performer and viewer.  artist who lives on a farm in northern Alberta’s forest belt. He studied at the Alberta College of Art and Design in Calgary, Alberta, and has exhibited widely, nationally and internationally.

Von Tiesenhausen is best known for his large-scale outdoor artworks and his use of natural materials and natural forces, notably fire, as tools for changing the conditions and contexts of his artworks. His decision to make a woven willow fence to keep his young sons from wandering into the forest led him to weave a 5.2 metre willow boat on his land, which later led to the creation of Ship, a 33.5 metre piece which is regarded as both a  sculptureA three-dimensional work of art, or the art of making it. Such works may be carved, modeled, constructed, or cast. Sculptures can also be described as assemblage, in the round, and relief, and made in a huge variety of media. A sculptor is one who creates sculptures. (  and a drawing. 

Oil Well

Von Tiesenhausen’s works are made in collaboration with nature. He once said, “Nature dictates the limitations and peculiarities of the materials. Wind and weather change the look and feel and even the measuring of the objects.” (Newlands, 2007)  Because of his environmental concerns, von Tiesenhausen's work frequently deals with the impact humans have on the environment. Often, he uses his  artistic practice"Practice" is something a person does repeatedly, whether to improve or to do what one does customarily, habitually, or professionally. Writers occasionally refer to what artists do as their practice: "Duchamp's practice" or "Picasso's studio practice." Some prescriptivists have criticized this usage as pretentious. The stronger tradition is to speak of the practices of physicians, lawyers, and dentists. Those professionals must have licenses in order to practice. They are white collar, and less messy. Speaking of an artist's "practice" is somewhat comparable to speaking of an artist's "production" — art making. (  as a type of environmental activism, either by spreading awareness or through direct action. He received  mediaAny material and technique used to produce a work of art (paint, glass, clay, fibre, video, sound, etc.). It may also refer to the liquid with which powdered pigments are mixed to make paint. Note that the plural form of “medium” is “media.”  attention in 2003 for his fight to protect a piece of land near his home from the development of an oil well, by claiming that the land itself was his artwork and therefore protected by copyright.


Canadian Heritage University of Regina Mackenzie Art Gallery Mendel Art Gallery Sask Learning