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2 photographs in artist's frames
80 x 60 cm
Inv. Nr. 139
Photo: © Todd White, Courtesy the artist and Simon Lee Gallery, London, © VBK, Wien, 2011

Born in 1941 in Düsseldorf, Germany
Lives and works in Düsseldorf, Germany

Hans-Peter Feldmann has been gathering a massive “Picture Archive” since the late sixties, consisting of an assortment of found images, such as postcards, magazine clippings, posters and pictures taken with his own roving camera. The artist categorizes each document according to his own system and created, in his early carrier, small handmade books made from this material, entitled Bild (Picture) or Bilder (Pictures). These books include reproductions of a certain theme – women’s knees, shoes, chairs, film stars, etc. By making series of these images of common objects, monuments, situations and appearances, Feldmann at once neutralizes and links them, creating a tension between their similarities and differences. His work gives credit to the power of the most “common” aesthetic strategies ranging from mass produced to amateur photographs. By embracing and giving equal value to all types of images, he recognizes the problematic nature of pictures and art in a culture bombarded by images. Lovers is one of these found images, from which he cut out the faces of the lovers, giving a sense of universality and anonymity to the couple’s movements.

Collection is the strategy he uses the most but not the only one. Feldmann also alters existing objects and images. Since the late seventies, he has started to cover plaster copies of ancient Greek sculptures with bright and saturated colours, turning them into grotesque Pop characters. Through this process, he reinforces the seductive nature of these already kitsch imitations of classical iconography. In works such as The Red Nose Double Portrait, he applies caricatural prostheses onto found paintings by small masters – clown-like red noses, black strips masking the eyes or even alterations to make the eyes squint. These simple gestures radically disrupt perception and question the notions of art and taste.