Teil 1: Skulpturen, Colorierungen 04.11.-12.11.
Teil 2: Bücher, Hefte, Bilder-Serien 15.11.-26.11.
Teil 3: Spielzeug, Bilderfundus 29.11.-10.12.
11/04/89 - 12/10/89
This year, with the 150th birthday of photography, an invention is being celebrated which has fundamentally changed the relationship of man to pictures and thus to art - a change leading Walter Benjamin in 1931 to his contemplation on "the work of art in the age of mechanical reproduction".
At the end of the 60s, Hans-Peter Feldmann (born in 1941 in Düsseldorf where he also lives today) demonstrated in his works the absurdity of Benjamin's thoughts on the concept of the original, its aura, and the problematics of a reproducible work of art.
In 1968, he produces his first "booklets": small-format, cardboard cover, stapled together, printed in b/w, stamped on the cover with "12 Bilder" and "Feldmann" - items to be consumed, in an edition of 1,000 copies, not autographed, presented unpretentiously, hanging on threads from the ceiling of the gallery, pasted to lecterns, laid out. The material he uses are found pictures such as postcards, magazine photos, and posters. Feldmann collects these in his "picture archive", in which they are categorised; if something is missing, he photographs it himself. In 1977, he exhibits this collection of ubiquitous picture media for the first time. In the same year, Feldmann expands his repertoire significantly by beginning to colour the found picture material. At first, pictures on newspaper pages, photocopied passport photos, photos of children, pin-up girls; then paintings and drawings of the old masters as well; and finally antique sculptures.
In showing the omnipresence of reproduction in his works, Feldmann thematises the missing original. It is the multitude of reproductions that lends the original its uniqueness. The aura of a work of art and its mechanical reproduction no longer contradict each other, but are mutually dependent upon each other. It is the omnipresence of reproduction that gives the original its "existence".
In 1975, Feldmann exhibits an enormous collection of toys. As an exhibition of an exhibition it cancels the mechanisms of the art business with its logic of offering, buying, and collecting. He thus underlines the attitude he has had from the very start: the refusal to be collected and commercially exploited.
As a consequence of this attitude, Feldmann, in 1980, draws a line under his work with an exhibition in Gent. This is his last activity in the context of art. He ceases all artistic work, destroys the works still in his possession, and refuses to make any further contribution.