After more than 20 years, the Kunsthalle Düsseldorf is again presenting a comprehensive show of the works of Hans-Peter Feldmann in his home town. The exhibition curated by Gregor Jansen and Elodie Evers shows a broad cross-section of works from the past four decades and new works produced especially for this exhibition.
Since the 1970s, Feldmann (* 1941) has been collecting, archiving, and arranging everyday objects and photographs he has taken himself or found in photo albums, newspapers, and magazines. Seemingly banal, whimsical motifs compose his colourful repertoire. He takes pictures of shoes, sunsets, women’s knees, and portraits out of their original context, reassembling them in accordance with preset criteria. Presented in series, the pictures point to a world behind what they portray and construct stories that catalyse both collective and personal memories. They hence offer the viewer opportunities for individual identification. Owing to the omnipresence of reproductions, Feldmann’s authorship is not to the fore; he neither signs not limits editions of his works. Feldmann’s own version of appropriation art is thus logical for a democratic attitude towards visual art, which knows no distinction between amateur and professional, private and public, other and own. In the view of the artist, pictures belong to everyone.
From the early, small-format booklets with simple, black and white, everyday motifs to the 2002 installation “Shadowplay,” Hans-Peter Feldmann presents photographs, sculptures, and installations at the Kunsthalle. They include the portrait series “100 Years.” The artist photographed 101 people from among his family and friends. He has created two new works especially for this exhibition: a gigantic paper plane lying on the cinema floor and an old bicycle leaning against the wall. Whether crashed or parked, Feldmann’s interventions repeatedly call into question the dividing line between inside and outside, art and life in typical childlike naivete. It is only logical that Feldmann has set up a special space for children in the Kunsthalle where they can paint faces and make their very own “picture books.” He is convinced they produce better works than any artist.