Born in Lübeck, Germany, in 1935. He lives and works in Vincennes (near Paris), in Châteauneuf-de-Grasse (southern France) and in Berlin. Peter Klasen studies at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste in Berlín (1955-1959). He settles in Paris in 1959. His first individual exhibition takes place in 1964. That same year he participates in the exhibition Mythologies Quotidiennes in the Musée d’art moderne de la Ville de Paris; this exhibition brings together all the Figuration Narrative representatives; Klasen will exhibit with this movement all through his artistic career.
In his early work, Peter Klasen inspires himself in relevant photographic pictures of the moment. He works with airbrush, mixing objects, collages and paint on canvas. He creates an opposition between parts of the female body and uncomfortable images or objects that disinfect (toilets, razors, faucets, surgical instruments: La conscience du corps, 1964). He develops a conceptual, clean and coldly erotic version of the Figuration Narrative movement and expresses “the schizophrenia of the modern world”. In 1974 characters disappear from his canvases. He uses flat colors on his large canvases to represent the “confining of urban ‘nature’”: fences, chains, prohibit signs, walls, cameras, containers, trucks, wagons, etc. From 1986 to 1988 he works on a series dedicated to the Berlin Wall. At the end of the 80’s we still find his “real” obsessions in tableaux-pièges (fences, prohibit signs…) and he develops his own idea of isolation which becomes giant installations such as Shock Corridor (1991). In recent years, women have reappeared in his work; he creates new series mixing neon lights and pictures and setting them on metal (Beauty nº 2, 2000). He also presents a collection of self-portraits transferring digital pictures to canvas (L’Enfermement du Docteur K). In Klasen’s work, photographies have always been both material used in his creations and a complement to his work.