21 June - 26 August 2012
Courtesy Hans-Peter Feldmann und Galerie Konrad Fischer, Düsseldorf, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2008
21 June - 26 August 2012
Hans-Peter Feldmann (born 1941, Dusseldorf) rose to prominence in the early 1970s, for his expansive photographic series, which opened the door for vernacular images. Often presented in the form of books, posters, postcards and installations, these collections link Feldmann's life-long fascination with collecting elements of visual culture.
Feldmann grew up in post war Germany, where the photographic image was scarce. During his formative years, he witness the expansion of images linked to a boom in consumer culture. His work from this time reflects a strong engagement with the type of imagery that surrounded him. His Sunday Pictures embody a set of clichés about happiness and beauty and are typical of the stock imagery found in magazines, brochures, posters and postcard.
A prolific producer of artist's books, his publications have been instrumental in establishing the genre as a recognisable form of artistic practice, influencing generations of artists who have followed him. Among the earliest works is a series of booklets titled Bilder (Pictures), each consisting of a collection of photographs of everyday subjects or situations. Feldmann’s straightforward treatment of photographic images combines the seriality of conceptual work with Pop Art’s use of imagery from common culture. His Time Series, produced during the mid-1970s, expanded upon this, chronicling the most banal events frame by frame, thereby effectively slowing down the passage of time.
Feldmann makes use of found objects to produce works that he displays in simple and humorous works. Towards the beginning of the 80s, he began painting classical statuettes in bright tawdry colours. The figures, which are full of the humour evident in much of Feldmann’s work, playfully question the dream of ideal beauty on which traditions of Western art are based.
In the last decade Feldmann’s attention has shifted from photographic images to paintings. He alters traditional portraits painting red noses or crossed eyes on the sitters. With small gestures, he transforms the paintings, undermining connotations of wealth or social status. Female nudes are another genre he likes to collects. By Painting black bars on its eyes or genitals, he makes us aware of the social contradictions that weigh on women bodies. Recently Feldmann has begun to seek out paintings in which only the sea and sky appear. As with many of Feldmann’s works these carefully considered collections set up a display of similarity and difference, exploring the richness of variations that can emerge from a familiar theme.
For his exhibition at Bawag Contemporary, Feldmann presents works from throughout his career. His work has been exhibited widely, including recent solo exhibitions at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2011), Museo Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid (2010), Arnolfini, Bristol (2007) and Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (1992). His work has been shown in numerous group exhibitions, from Documenta 6 (1977) to the Venice Biennale in 2009 and 2003.