Richard Saltoun Gallery announces an exhibition of works by Hans-Peter Feldmann (b. 1941), recognised as one of the pioneering conceptual artists' from the '70s.
The exhibition, drawn exclusively from a single private collection, focuses on Feldmann's key artistic practice of the time: the hand-coloured Xeroxes. Feldmann's work from this period is rarely exhibited, in part due to his decision to retire as an artist in 1979, which led him to either give away or destroy his work. Feldmann spent the next ten years in silence, running a souvenir shop in Düsseldorf and a mail order shop for thimbles. He returned to his career as an artist in 1989, after the curator Kasper König persuaded him to exhibit in a gallery again, and his reputation has grown in strength, as the first generation of conceptual art has been re-examined.
The exhibition will feature arguably Feldmann's most significant work from the period: Untitled, a series of 11 large format hand-coloured screen-prints derived from tourist postcards of Central European landscapes and mountains. Originally exhibited in the important survey exhibition of conceptual art Kunst In Europa Na '68 (Museum Van Hedendaagse Kunst, Ghent, Belgium, 1980), the whereabouts of the work have remained unknown since then and it has not been exhibited until now. Like most of Feldmann's work, it is disorientating in that it is not titled and it uses odd numbers rather than even. Whilst the work was intended to be a major statement of intent by the artist, it had the opposite effect on him: the negativity surrounding the exhibition and the artist's disillusionment with the art market led him to withdraw into retirement.
Additional exhibition works include Sonntagsbilder (Sunday Pictures), originally shown at Documenta 6 (1977) and later used by the Pop group Blur for the cover of one of their albums (Girls&Boys, 1994, which was also taken from a Durex condoms packet). This piece features 21 images of popular culture from the 70s, romantic in feel but with their colour removed so that they appear as stark black and white images. Feldmann re-screened the images on the cheapest and most degraded paper available, with some folded in four and presented in an envelope in order to crease and 'destroy' them further. Colouring: Works from the '70s also presents Klassiker-Gemälde, a series of 12 hand-coloured Xeroxes of well known old master paintings. Feldmann recalls his first experience of art through reproduction and his need to colour the black and white images in order to make the copy more beautiful: "…to make them prettier, improve them, just as some people use a crocheted cover to improve the appearance of a toilet roll."
Hans-Peter FELDMANN was born in 1941 in Düsseldorf and grew up in the small town of Hilden. He studied painting in the 1960s at the University of Arts and Industrial Design Linz, Austria. He began working in 1968, producing the first of the small handmade books that would then become a signature part of his work. These simple books, entitled Bilde (Picture) or Bilder (Pictures), would include one or more reproductions from a certain type or category - knees of women, shoes, chairs, film stars, landscapes etc. - all presented without captions or accompanying text. After a ten year hiatus from his artistic career, Feldmann has since been recognized as a major figure of the first generation of conceptual artists. He was named winner of the 8th Biennal Hugo Boss Prize in 2010 and recent solo museum exhibitions include: Deichtorhallen, Hamburg (2013); Bawag Contemporary Foundation, Vienna; Serpentine Gallery, London; Hanger Bicocca, Milan (all 2012); Guggenheim Museum, New York (2011); Konsthall Malmo; Museo Centro De Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid; and Kunsthalle Dusseldorf (all 2010).
The exhibition will be displayed in tandem with a presentation in the office of Richard Saltoun Gallery: Renate Bertlmann - Drawings and Photographs from the '70s, showing key works by the radical Austrian feminist artist.