Hans-Peter Feldmann on the link between contemporary photography and classicist painting

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Characterised by its engagement with art history and vernacular imagery, Feldmann’s conceptual work derives from found images and everyday ephemera.
Feldmann’s oeuvre mixes photography with sculpture, installation and painting. With surprising humour and subtle intervention, he systematically reconstructs existing images and objects to reflect on representation and the construction of ideologies.
His works often proposes an irreverent subversion of the value systems on which the art market and the wider art world are predicated.
One consistent strand of his practice has involved the appropriation and modification of historic oil paintings – most often bourgeois portraits and genre paintings of the 19th century.
For this exhibition, Feldmann presents a series of such paintings installed on custom made stands. These traditional, gilt-framed portraits of couples, children, pets, soldiers and women, selected and sourced from auctions, are subverted by the addition of red noses, cross-eyes, tan lines and redaction blackouts.
The installation invites visitors to make connections within and between the works as they weave through a maze of teasing, upended representations of youth, class, nostalgia, sexuality, war and beauty.
Disrupting long-held assertions of the artist’s role as a unique creator, Feldmann’s appropriation of these sincere, nuanced, intimate portraits and his attention to the evocative formal qualities of paint on canvas seemingly penetrates a collective consciousness. This creeping nostalgia for a life that never was is supplanted by uncanny alternative narratives, reminding us of the power of images in creating personal and political myths and just how unreliable individual and collective memory is.

Hans-Peter Feldmann was born in 1941 in Düsseldorf and lives and works in Düsseldorf, Germany.
His work is held by public institutions including The Museum of Modern Art, New York, Tate Modern, London, Centre Pompidou, Paris, Hirschhorn Museum, Washington DC, and the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles.
Hans-Peter Feldmann from the 25 November 2016 – 12 January 2017.
More information here.

Tom Seymour

Tom Seymour is an Associate Editor at The Art Newspaper and an Associate Lecturer at London College of Communication. His words have been published in The Guardian, The Observer, The New York Times, Financial Times, Wallpaper* and The Telegraph. He has won Writer of the Year and Specialist Writer of the year on three separate occassions at the PPA Awards for his work with The Royal Photographic Society.