Hans Peter Feldmann

4 October - 19 November 2013

Simon Lee Gallery is proud to present our first exhibition in the Hong Kong Gallery of work by the influential German artist Hans-Peter Feldmann. Characterised by its inquisitive and versatile engagement with art history and vernacular imagery, Feldmann’s conceptual work has developed over more than four decades. He has built a unique language through the reassembling of images collected from elements of visual culture and everyday ephemera such as books, magazines, family albums and postcards. With unexpected humour, wit and minimal interference, his works reconstruct the pictorial context and extend artistic communication beyond the traditional practice. 

The exhibition combines different elements of Feldmann’s oeuvre including sculpture, photography, altered paintings, vintage and contemporary, found and made objects. His handling and staging of diverse materials are linked by an expressive force that dissolves borders between art and non-art and blurs distinctions between high and low through the re-presentation of artefacts drawn from common culture. Aesthetic ideals, traditions of western art and the structure of values that define artistic creation are playfully questioned. 

The handmade triptych of “Seated women in paintings” is a collage made of colour Xerox copies of a great number of paintings, some famous, some less known, which share the motif women posing seated, pinned like magazine clippings on a three part board. “David” and “Venus” are classical nudes, cast in plaster and garishly coloured. Both works disrupt high art tropes by the use of strategies of ready-made or kitsch. 

In his undiscriminating documentation of modest visual worlds, the plainly universal quality of everyday media transforms into a poetic construct. The anthropomorphic “Hat with photo on stand” is a simple found object arrangement of a felt hat with a photograph tucked in the band. “All the Clothes of a Woman” is a series of 70 small black and white photos cataloguing one by one, every item of clothing in a woman’s wardrobe. The re-orientation and re-contextualization of these assembled materials and images take on a form suggestive of portraiture. The use of mass-produced images and objects suggests a compulsion to archive and understand our daily surroundings; within the prosaic there is detail, nuance and intimate, complex narrative to discover. As though retrieving past memories, the familiar tactility of these cultural artefacts has an aspect of nostalgia. We are presented with our everyday myths, to reflect upon and inflect with new meaning. Feldmann’s deeply personal activity translates to the viewer, kindling a kind of self-recognition in the banal. 

Hans-Peter Feldmann (b. 1941) lives and works in Düsseldorf. Recent exhibitions include a major travelling survey at the Serpentine Gallery in London (2012) which travelled to BAWAG Contemporary in Vienna (2012) and Deichtorhallen in Hamburg (2013), and solo exhibitions at the Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid (2010), the Malmö Konstall (2010), the Kunsthalle Düsseldorf (2010), and the Arnolfini in Bristol (2007-2008). Feldmann has also participated in numerous group exhibitions, including the São Paulo Biennial (2012), the Bass Museum of Art in Miami (2012), the Venice Biennale (2009), and Museé d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (2008). Feldmann was honoured with the 2010 Hugo Boss Prize, recognizing his significant achievement in contemporary art. For his Hugo Boss Prize exhibition at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, Feldmann chose to display his monetary prize in entirety, pinning one-dollar bills to the museum walls.