The Serpentine Gallery, London presents a brand new comprehensive survey of the German artist Hans-Peter Feldmann. The exhibition will show seminal works from throughout his career, from his influential early photographic series to new works displaying women’s handbags.
Born in Germany in 1941, Feldmann soon became a key figure in the Düsseldorf art scene and is a contemporary of Joseph Beuys, Gerhard Richter and Sigmar Polke. Through his lifelong dedication to collecting, Feldmann has called attention to the cultural material that surrounds us by gathering images and everyday objects from disparate sources into meticulous installations.
Amongst Feldmann’s earliest works are a series of booklets consisting of photographs of everyday subjects and situations from views of mountains to aircrafts in the sky to women’s knees. In his latest works the artist has taken collecting a step further by purchasing a number of women’s handbags along with their entire contents and will display them in traditional museum vitrines.
The exhibition will also include examples of his portraiture, a theme that Feldmann has returned to throughout his career.Whether reproducing a series of amateur snapshots from a friend’s family album or meticulously documenting a woman applying her make-up in a series of photographs, Feldmann uses the genre of portraiture to explore the interior life of the individual as well as the material world that surrounds them.
Feldmann’s exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery will be his first solo presentation in a UK public gallery since winning the 2010 HUGO BOSS PRIZE and the resulting exhibition at Guggenheim Museum, NewYork (2011). Feldmann has presented many solo exhibitions internationally, including at Museo Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid (2010), Arnolfini, Bristol (2007), Museum Ludwig, Cologne (2003) and Musée d’Art Moderne de laVille de Paris (1992). His work has been shown in numerous group exhibitions, including theVenice Biennale in 2009 and 2003 and Take Me I’m Yours at the Serpentine Gallery in 1995.
It is nearly impossible to capture the amount of images Feldmann has collected from magazines, books and with his own roving camera. The exhibition brings structure and order to Feldmann’s shuffled deck of images. Feldmann recognises the problematic nature of pictures and art in a culture constantly bombarded by images. Feldmann does not discard either mass produced or amateur photographs or objects on the contrary, he embraces them in his work as if they were his own and offers them equal value. By embracing, accepting and placing images of common objects, monuments, situations and appearances in series, Feldmann at once neutralises and relates them, creating a tension between their similarities and differences.
Hans-Peter Feldmann rose to prominence in the early 1970s, earning worldwide acclaim for his expansive and encyclopaedic photographic series. Often presented in the form of books, posters, postcards and gallery installations, these collections link Feldmann’s life-long fascination with collecting to his practice as an archivist of visual culture. His exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery will be his first solo presentation in a UK public gallery since winning the 2010 Hugo Boss Prize.
11 April – 3 June
Serpentine Gallery Kensington Gardens London W2 3XA