By means of simple and subtle modifications of older paintings, the German artist Hans-Peter Feldmann sets the images free – in the sense of free of history, of their sublimity, and free of their originating social context, and thereby invite us to meet and think the artworks anew.
Feldmann’s art can in fact be described as political, but at the same time plays very subtly with artistic conventions and the expectations we have of the encounter with art, not least in a museum.
Paintings is not an exhibition of the artist’s own brushwork, but older paintings created by other artists, which he then applies very simple changes to. Feldmann (b. 1941) has always worked with existing images: cuttings, his own and others’ photographs and artworks.
His working method is thereby characterized by squinting, obscuring, turning upside down and short-circuiting, not only in the works – but for Feldman preferably also in a wider sense. His is deeply concerned with what kind of images and thoughts our encounter with the artworks give rise to in us.
Exhibited in Louisiana’s Old Villa, the works merge cheerfully with the ‘Danish Golden Age’ atmosphere of the building, while at the same time they impact on us and challenge us in the here and now.
AN ARTISTIC TRADITION
In the 1990s Feldmann began making paintings of the type shown in the exhibition – in the beginning by pasting cut-out eyes over the paintings as in a rough notebook. Now he does it by making, or having someone else make the very simple changes, typical in older works that he buys at sales.
The Danish artist Asger Jorn and the circle around the Situationist International worked at the end of the 1950s with similar strategies for reworking existing pictorial material, but in that context the aim was more unambiguously an assault on capitalist consumption and image culture.
Feldmann's modified paintings can be seen as a continuation of this artistic tradition. His art can in fact be described as political, but at the same time it plays very subtly with artistic conventions and the expectations we have of the encounter with art, not least in a museum.
FELDMANN IN LOUISIANA'S COLLECTION
Hans-Peter Feldmann is represented in the Louisiana Collection by a considerable number of his early artist books, the so-called ’Bilderhefte’ and by the large photographic installation 100 years from 2001, which was acquired for the Louisiana Collection with funds from the Augustinus Foundation and was exhibited at the museum in 2012 and 2014.
100 years is a suite of photographs of people from either Feldmann’s family or his wider social circle from the age of 0 to 100 years. The suite narrates a century as left its traces in the faces of different individuals.
Hans-Peter Feldmann studied painting at the University of Art and Industrial Design in Linz in Austria in the 1960s. From 1968 and on he began to make reproducible art works like artists’ books and photographs. Eventually, Feldmann became an important figure in the conceptual art milieu of the 1970s and has developed his artistic ouvre in various ways – now including his modifications of paintings.
Feldmann has exhibited at the Venice Biennial (2003, 2006), Museo Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (2010) and Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York (2011).
A RETURN TO PAINTING
The current exhibition is of Feldmann’s interventions with painting - and initially the artist began his path into the world of art when he studied painting in Austria in the 1960’s. Though not being satisfied with his skills as a painter, he dropped out of the university in Linz. Since then Feldmann has found his own approach to art making. Hear the whole story in Louisiana Channel’s video here.