Applying his extraordinary eye for images that are both categorically banal and cunningly suggestive, Hans Peter Feldmann pushes the boundaries of postmodernism painting.
The German conceptual artist, renowned for his obsessive collecting of popular images and ephemera, gives his own version of a painting show, exhibithing at 303 Gallery in New York a series of found artworks manipulated and placed into unexpected dialogues. Whether nudging insipid aristocratic portraits toward transcendent farce or uncovering hidden secrets in the pabulum of vernacular landscape painting, Feldmann dissects the uncanny evocative power that images enact upon the subconscious, simultaneously subverting and sublimating their capacities. Art is in and of itself nothing sacred for Hans-Peter Feldmann but rather a form of communication, consumed in different quantities, by everyone from time to time. In this spirit, the artist rejects the exalted stature of the artwork, suspending the majority of paintings from the ceiling, instead of hunging them on the walls. As in Lina Bo Bardi’s design for the Museu de Arte de Sao Paolo (1968), this ‘floating installation’ democratizes the experience of the artwork, putting the viewer on equal ground with the paintings. Viewed as a collection of objects rather than an arrangement of metaphysical tableaux, the paintings inhabit space as things-themselves, a stark contrast to the contrived, impenetrable status symbols often conferred onto works of
art. This notion is very much in keeping with Feldmann’s general modus operandi, wherein his paintings are sourced from auctions before being altered or “arranged.” Repetition becomes a disjunctive impulse, as the paintings in combination with each other reveal a certain latency of shared experience, a tabula rasa through which we can appreciate not only the impulse to paint and reproduce nature, but the construction of nature itself.