Thursday, July 1, 2010

Hans-Peter Feldmann - not about the object but the idea

Hans-Peter Feldmann is one of my favorite artists. I like his process, how he works outside the system (even though the system embraces him for that) and how his work is not about the object but about the idea. He also makes something out of nothing, what can be better than that. And he makes book-works.

Feldmann (Born 1941 Dusseldorf, Germany) lives and works in Dusseldorf and is a major figure in the conceptual art movement and a pre-eminent practitioner in the artist book and multiple formats. Feldmann's approach to art-making is one of collecting, ordering and re-presenting. Culling imagery from the swollen vernacular of amateur snapshots, print photographic reproductions, toys and trivial works of art, Feldmann reproduces and recontextualizes our reading of them in books, postcards, posters or multiples.
He began working in 1968, producing the first of the small handmade books that would become a signature part of his work. These modest books, simply entitled Bilde (Picture) or Bilder (Pictures), would include one or more reproductions from a certain type - knees of women, shoes, chairs, film stars, etc. - their subjects isolated in their ubiquity and presented without captions.

In the forward to his new book ANOTHER BOOK (Koenig Books, 2010) Feldmann publishes this letter to a friend talking about his working method.

Thank you very much for your letter, from which I learned, how you make your books of such high quality.
But I am afraid, that this is not what I have in mind. Let me give you some thoughts, how I think about my art.
I was very much impressed by the Dadaist, the Situationists, Fluxus, Vienna Actionists and so on. I learned book and magazine making from the Amsterdam Provos. What they all have in common, is, that art is an event, an impression, a feeling and more. It's never really the object. Like in music, the piano is not the music, it's only a tool.

I have two ways to express my art. On one side I do exhibitions and on the other side I do magazines and books. Both have the same importance to me. But I always try to leave not a feeling for valuable items or objects, but an experience. Best sample could be the shadow play. It's actually a bunch of trash and junk, which builds up something completely new in our brains for a certain while. A shadow on the wall.

That's, why I put pictures and photographs with pins on the wall of a museum, not with a frame, that's why I write titles of works by hand below the work on the wall. I do not want to be recognized by material, but by ideas. I even show by purpose bad works in shows, leave trash in a corner and make mistakes in books.

So many words.
But I hope, that you can understand why I could not let a designer do my book. Specially if it is a very good one. He would not accept, that I want to have pictures not printed straight, empty pages, photocopies as the base for scans and so on.

1 comment:

Marie-Laure said...

The work of Hans-Peter Feldmann is really beautiful. Thank you for sharing.