Hans-Peter Feldmann

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“In my family, no one talked about art. So eventually I found out that such a thing existed for myself from postcards and books.”

Simon Lee Gallery presents an online exhibition of works by German artist Hans-Peter Feldmann.

Since the 1960s, Düsseldorf-based Feldmann has amassed a prolific collection of photography, painting, postcards, knick-knacks and everyday ephemera. With the majority of his work untitled and undated, he gives away as little empirical information as possible to his audience, instead encouraging an unbiased viewing experience, unbound by context.

With surprising humour and subtle intervention, Feldmann systematically reconstructs existing images and objects to reflect on representation and the construction of ideologies. In doing so, he challenges the boundaries of high-art and disrupts long-held assertions of the artist’s role as a unique creator. In One Pound of Strawberries thirty-four colour-photographs of individual strawberries demonstrate the artist’s urge to document, and thus celebrate, the ordinary.

Hans-Peter Feldmann
Beds,
11 black and white photographs, pinned
Each: 20 x 30 cm (7 7/8 x 11 3/4 in.)
© Hans-Peter Feldmann

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Hans-Peter Feldmann
One pound of strawberries,
34 colour photographs, pinned
10.2 x 10 cm (4 x 3 7/8 in.)
© Hans-Peter Feldmann

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Hans-Peter Feldmann
Car radios while good music is playing,
4 black and white photographs and 1 colour photograph, pinned
Dimensions variable
© Hans-Peter Feldmann

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“I have two ways to express my art.  On one side I do exhibitions and on the other side I do magazines and books.  Both have the same importance for me.  But I always try to leave not a feeling for valuable items or objects, but an experience... That’s why I put pictures and photographs with pins of the wall of a museum, not with a frame, that’s why I write titles of works by hand below the work on the wall.  I do not want to be recognized by material, but by ideas.”

Hans-Peter Feldmann
Seated women in paintings,
Offset and digital prints on paper, pins and wood
165 x 210 cm (65 x 82 5/8 in.)
© Hans-Peter Feldmann

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“…individual photos are not right for me. I find them too loaded with meaning, too elitist. The mood of a whole series is more important than an individual picture. When things are repeated, then there’s an average value that’s more correct than an individual picture can be.”

Hans-Peter Feldmann
Wunderkammer,
Assortment of everyday objects from the Western world in three vitrines
180 x 160 x 60 cm (70 7/8 x 63 x 23 5/8 in.)
© Hans-Peter Feldmann

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The engrossing Wunderkammer, or Cabinet of Curiosities, presents three glass vitrines in which Feldmann has laid out, with great intent, an assortment of objects, all apparently unrelated, aside from their ability to spark Feldmann’s curiosity: a Magritte-esque pipe, an old telephone, a tap, a hipflask, a shaving brush, an open lipstick, children’s shoes, a microscope, dentures, a large silver spoon, a bulldog clip, folding spectacles, boxing gloves, a mousetrap, a perfume bottle, handcuffs and a lightbulb. Wunderkammer opens up the artist’s private, encyclopaedic world: an anthology of objects or visual impressions of biographical significance.

Wunderkammer relates very closely to Feldmann’s important installation entitled “Laden 1975–2015”. Feldmann opened a store in central Düsseldorf in 1975, initially dealing mostly in antique technologies: nautical implements, photography equipment, geodesist’s tools, and vintage toys. In the 1980s, he added collectibles and souvenirs, including many articles that were not available anywhere else. The business did so well that Feldmann withdrew from the art world for a decade to devote all his energy to the shop. After forty years, in 2015, Feldmann closed his store to transform the entire undertaking into a work of art that is now part of the Lenbachhaus collection.

For Feldmann, the world of images has always delivered an escape – a glimpse into another world. As a young child in war-time Germany, the artist collected stamps. Fragile and delicate, yet universally accessible, stamps provided brilliant examples of windows into alternate realities; a life beyond the war. Within their miniature frames, stamps tell of Kings and Queens, mythicized landscapes and monuments, wars fought and battles won.  Included in this exhibition is one of the world’s largest single collections of historical paintings of the nude. Installed in a row, the display presents one hundred and fifty stamps, each bearing a different art historical image of a nude.

Hans-Peter Feldmann
Stamps with nude paintings,
1 set of 150 stamps on card passe-partout, wooden strips, metal brackets and screws
Each: 9.9 x 14.8 cm (3 7/8 x 5 7/8 in.)
© Hans-Peter Feldmann

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"My father had a shop that received a great deal of post. I was maybe five or six, and I liked the stamps. I cut out these lovely little colourful pictures and stuck them into notebooks with a thick kind of glue."

Hans-Peter Feldmann
Lovecouple (Liebespaar),
Black and white photograph glued in an open wooden box
40 x 60 x 5 cm (15 3/4 x 23 5/8 x 2 in.)
© Hans-Peter Feldmann

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Hans-Peter Feldmann
Two Sisters by Shadow (Zwei Schwestern von Schadow),
Painted plaster
56 x 29 x 20 cm (22 1/8 x 11 3/8 x 7 7/8 in.)
© Hans-Peter Feldmann

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The exhibition also features the multi-part painting installations, Seascapes and A Story. Mined from auctions, second-hand shops and markets, these simply grouped works open up a space for viewers to make connections and associations between otherwise discrete images, creating a disjuncture between intention and reception, while simultaneously bestowing upon them new life and narrative meaning. The fifteen found paintings of varied scale and finish in Seascapes have had all subjects removed – boats and birds have been erased to make way for a new, more generous fiction.

These form part of a consistent strand of the artist’s practice, involving the appropriation and modification of historic oil painting. This creeping nostalgia for a life that never was is supplanted by uncanny alternative narratives, reminding us of the power of images in the creation of personal mythologies.

Hans-Peter Feldmann
Untitled (seascapes),
15 framed paintings, oil on canvas
Dimensions variable. Overall width: 720 cm (283 ½ in.)
© Hans-Peter Feldmann

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Hans-Peter Feldmann
A Story,
Oil on canvas
Part 1: 39.5 x 65 cm (15 x 25 in.) Part 2: 125 x 101.5 cm (49 x 40 in.) Part 3: 24.5 x 23 cm (9 5/8 x 9 in.)
© Hans-Peter Feldmann

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Hans-Peter Feldmann
Untitled,
Oil on canvas
Diptych, each: 60 x 6 x 52.5 cm (23 5/8 x 2 3/8 x 20 5/8 in.)
© Hans-Peter Feldmann

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Hans-Peter Feldmann
A Story,
Oil on canvas
Part 1: 60 x 80 cm (23 5/8 x 31 1/2 in.) Part 2: 132 x 120 cm (52 x 47 1/4 in.) Part 3: 40 x 30 cm (15 3/4 x 11 3/4 in.)
© Hans-Peter Feldmann

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Hans-Peter  Feldmann  was  born  in  1941  and  lives  and  works  in  Düsseldorf,  Germany.  His  work  has  been  shown extensively internationally and has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions and projects, including Museum of Modern  Art,  New  York,  NY  (2017),  Sammlung  Philara,  Dusseldorf,  Germany  (2016),  C/O  Berlin,  Berlin,  Germany (2016),  Louisiana  Museum  of  Modern  Art,  Humlebaek,  Denmark  (2015),  The  Israel  Museum,  Jerusalem,  Israel (2013),  Serpentine  Galleries,  London,  UK  (2012)  which  travelled  to  BAWAG  Contemporary,  Vienna,  Austria  (2012) and Deichtorhallen, Hamburg, Germany (2013), Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain (2010), which travelled to Malmö Konstall,  Malmö,  Sweden  (2010),  Kunsthalle  Düsseldorf,  Düsseldorf,  Germany  (2010),  Pinakothek  der  Moderne, Munich, Germany  (2010)  and  the  Arnolfini,  Bristol,  UK  (2007-2008).    Major  group  exhibitions  include  The  Modern Institute, Glasgow, Scotland (2017), The Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art, Barcelona, Spain (2016), Walker Art  Center,  Minneapolis,  MN  (2016),  Fundación  Jumex  Arte  Contemporáneo,  Mexico  City,  MX  (2016),  Serralves Museum  of  Contemporary  Art,  Porto,  Portugal  (2015),  Hirshhorn  Museum  and  Sculpture  Garden,  Washington,  DC (2015), Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus und Kunstbau, Munich, Germany (2015), Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, UK (2014), Museum der Moderne Salzburg, Salzburg, Austria (2013), the São Paulo Biennial (2012), the Bass Museum of Art in Miami (2012) and the Venice Biennale (2009). Feldmann was awarded the Hugo Boss Prize for the Arts,in association  with the Guggenheim Museum, New  York, NY  in 2010. His work is in  major private and public collections  including  S.M.A.K.,  the  Municipal  Museum  of  Contemporary  Art,  Ghent,  Belgium,  Louisiana  Museum  of Modern  Art,  Humlebaek, Denmark, Museo  Reina  Sofia,  Madrid,  Spain,  Tate,  London,  UK  and The  Solomon  R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY.

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