Sabatini Building, Floor 3
Hans-Peter Feldmann (Düsseldorf 1941) began his artistic career in the late 1960s. His first works were a series of small books in offset printing, titled “Bilders” (Pictures) in which he reproduced one or more images from an everyday object: tools, airplanes, knees, etc. Since then his interest in the photographic image, which he collects obsessively, has led him to produce several photography series. Some of them are as renowned as his “Time Series” in which he portrays an insignificant event, such as a ship passing by or a woman cleaning a window, in thirty-six images from an analog film cartridge. His interest in photography is not based on the individual image, but rather on the series and what seems to hold them together as a sequence.
"Feldmann grew up in post-war Germany in a world devoid of images. For this reason, the few images that he encountered in everyday life acted as windows onto other worlds. Fascinated by them, he began to collect them, cut them out and stick them into albums, as he continues to do today. It is therefore not surprising that when he embarked on his artistic career in the late 1960s he filled the backgrounds of his paintings with collages of photographs, or that he subsequently made a number of small, simple books with cardboard covers and offset images of recurring motifs: aeroplanes, unmade beds, women’s knees, etc. He entitled them 2 Images[2 Bilder] or 7 Images[7 Bilder] according to the number that they contained. Feldmann also began to record trivial events in the manner of film stills on rolls of traditional, analogue film of 36 shots. These include a boat moving down a river, the woman opposite cleaning the window, or two girls getting dressed at the swimming pool. In this dry but poetic series entitled Time series nothing remarkable takes place; the invisible flow of time has been detained simply in order to scrutinise it. Years later Feldmann further developed his ideas in a book and a series of 101 photographic portraits that he entitled100 Years, in which each photograph depicts a person (all family members or friends of the artist), aged between 8 months and 100 years. For Feldmann this was a way of confronting the passing of time, while for the viewer the series acts as a link between individual and collective memory, reminding us that time passes for everyone and that as we look through the series - inevitably comparing ourselves with individuals of our own age - we have passed through 100 years: an entire lifetime.[...]
Feldmann’s universe is that of ordinary life, from which he derives his subjects and the materials that he employs. The everydayness that is the context of his work is defined through contrast with other levels of human activity: it is the reverse side of the coin of that social, capitalist space filled with hyperbolic, retouched images that encourage us to consume. In contrast, Feldmann seems to wish to neutralise his images, presenting them as basic with regard to their materials and as aesthetically undefined, as if wanting to force the limits of their expressive qualities. In addition, he remains emotionally apart, limiting himself to informing us or showing us something that he has found, hoping that we imbue it with meaning. For example, his series All the clothes of a woman presents exactly what the title describes: seventy items of female dress, one by one. These clothes, which comprise an archive of modest fetishes, may, even in their absence, stilll conjure up a (love?) story. Also completely bland are his serial photographs of car radios. In another context the viewer would undoubtedly pay little attention to them, but when seen in relation to the title, Car radio when good music is playing, we identify with them, given that we have all experienced such a moment." [...]
-- Curator Helena Tatay