Hans-Peter Feldmann was born in 1941 in Düsseldorf, where he still lives and works today. His work can be divided into two stages, separated by a ten-year silence. The first lasted from the 60’s to the 80’s, when Feldmann stopped for ten years, and did not start working as an artist again until 1989. From 1968, Feldmann began producing little books called Bild (picture) or Bilder (pictures), which contained pictures of one kind of object, and no text. Feldmann gathers different kinds of pictures – such as his own photographs, or ones taken from magazines – and groups them by theme and by their chronology.
These works, like all of his output, take on a modest, unassuming appearance and stay very close to the rhythm of the day-to-day. At that time, Feldmann also used to collect old toys, pictures and other objects which he himself would colour, so changing the traditional perception that one could have of them. In 1980, following an exhibition at the Van Hedendaagse Kunst Museum in Gante, Feldmann decided to retire, appearing to be a little tired of the whole art world which, as he saw it, put commercial considerations before politics and ideologies. However, from 1989, he resumed artistic production with the Aesthetic Studios –everyday objects assembled to create a new form – as well as once more starting to produce books which focused on the different social uses of photography.
Feldmann’s career, whose unique style recontextualizes everyday objects, cataloguing the commonplace and giving it new meanings, has had a major influence on two generations of artists. Among the many exhibitions of his work which have been held since the beginning of the 70’s, of particular note are those at the Paul Maenz Gallery in Cologne, the Sperone Gallery in Turin and the Kunstraum in Munich. Recently, his work has been shown at the Guggenheim Museum Soho (1993) and the 303 Gallery (1992, 1996, 2000) in New York, as well as the Ludwig Museum in Cologne (2003) and the Antoni Tàpies Foundation (2002) in Barcelona. His work was also seen at Documenta 5 (1972) and Documenta 6 (1976) in Kassel; at the exhibition do it, curated by Hans-Ulrich Obrist in the Ritter Klagenfurt, Austria (1994); at the Venice Biennale (2003) and at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis (2004).