Hans-Peter Feldmann at Simon Lee Gallery, London

Simon Lee Gallery’s new show features a solo exhibition by the influential German artist Hans-Peter Feldmann from 5 April. The exhibition follows the success of Feldmann’s recent travelling solo survey at the Serpentine Gallery in London and BAWAG Contemporary in Vienna (both 2012), which is currently on view at Deichtorhallen in Hamburg. Feldmann has had a life-long fascination with, and an obsessive attitude towards, collecting everyday images and ephemera which he often assembles in the form of books, posters, postcards, paintings and installations. His works present a blend of readymade material and minimal artistic intervention, achieving unexpected, humorous outcomes that often verge on the absurd and challenge our aesthetic sensibilities.

For his solo exhibition at the gallery, Feldmann will offer an exploration of his latest collections and a survey of the imagery that he frequently engages through found paintings. The works on display feature nudes, portraits, still lifes and seascapes, which, placed against both burgundy and blue walls reminiscent of a National Gallery display, suggest a classical painting exhibition.

Nevertheless, the minor alterations within each of the paintings quickly reveal Feldmann’s subversion and his readiness to play with this traditional aesthetic. Within his found canvases, seated portraits, once tokens of wealth passed down in families from generation to generation, have been disrupted with cross-eyes, red noses and black eyes – giving new identities to these now forgotten figures. Nudes, frequently bestowed with mythological status in the western art tradition, have had their eyes, breasts and genitals covered with black bars, recalling state censorship devices and highlighting how radical the images would have been at the time of their making. Still lifes, which often serve as vanitas images, have been covered by giant X’s, taking away their initial power to signify and rendering them redundant.

The exhibition also features the multi-part painting installations Seascapes and A story. Mined from auctions, second hand shops and markets, these simply grouped works open up a space for viewers to make connections and associations between otherwise individual images, creating a disjuncture between intention and reception, while simultaneously bestowing them with new life and narrative meaning.

In the lower gallery, Feldmann will display one of the world’s largest single collections of historical paintings of the female nude. Installed in a row, the display presents one hundred and fifty stamps, each bearing a different art historical image of a female nude.

Hans-Peter Feldmann, 5 April until 8 May, Simon Lee Galley, 12 Berkeley Street, London, W1J 8DT. www.simonleegallery.com


1. Hans Peter Feldman, installtion view. Courtesy of the artist and Simon Lee Gallery, London & Hong Kong.
2. Hans Peter Feldman, Untitled. Courtesy of the artist and Simon Lee Gallery, London & Hong Kong.