The exhibition opening in the Deichtorhallen Hamburg on March 1, 2013 is dedicated to the major series, installations, sculptures and paintings of Hans-Peter Feldmann. Born in Düsseldorf in 1941, the artist shot to fame in the early 1970s with his encyclopedic photographic series, the material for which he found in the grand fund of everyday images. Feldmann bridges the ostensible divide between art and the everyday, and bathes things he finds in the banal world of the everyday, from amateur photos, toys and general bric-a-brac, in his own personal, poetic light. His works have been exhibited, in the Guggenheim in New York, at the Documenta and the Venice Biennale to name but a few venues. He has come to occupy the high echelons of the German art world, joining Gerhard Richter and Sigmar Polke as some of the country’s most famous artists, exerting a truly palpable influence on the subsequent generation of artists.
Even today, Feldmann’s creations have lost none of their seductive power, facility or subtle humor. In his works he touches upon childish, erotic yet nonetheless political cosmos, each an admixture of ready- made and artistic intervention. Examples range from the installation of a phantasmal shadow play, to the purses he bought from women on the street for EUR 500 a piece, whose contents he then exhibited in an art show; and from the artistic »Funkturm« installation, which was part of an exhibition on Deichtorplatz; to Michelangelo’s »David«, nine meters tall and painted in jarringly bright colors: The show presents everything that makes Feldmann’s work so special.
Hans-Peter Feldmann »finds« his works in the pictorial worlds of ordinary, everyday life, in commonplace media such as TV, magazines or kitschy postcard series. A group of footballers from HSV Hamburg are, for example, juxtaposed with bunches of strawberries or postage stamps. In a series dealing with the events of 9/11, he compiled the front pages of 300 international newspapers from the following day. While in »100 years« he creates a unique view of a century free of conventional historiography, bringing together a collection of portraits depicting people of varying ages from month-old babies to centenarians.
Classical paintings such as those by Modigliani are subjected to a number of small, interventions inviting the beholder to take a closer look, yanking high art down from its pedestal and subverting the belief in the beauty of art and the representative. For instance, Feldmann has erased ships from seascapes, added depictions of notable people to classical portraits, painted red noses on dollar bills, and given Courbet’s nude a tan line from sunbathing in her bikini. Many of the artist’s works playfully challenge the dream of an ideal world, which forms the foundations of western artistic tradition.
Hans-Peter Feldmann certainly has a few tricks up his sleeve for the exhibition in Hamburg. The visitors will be greeted by an upside-down car placed right at the center of the parking lot surrounded by a sea of parked cars, the right way up; the artist has also installed a painting station for children in the exhibition foyer.
The exhibition has been arranged in collaboration with the Serpentine Gallery, London and the Bawag Foundation in Vienna.