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All the clothes of a woman, 1970

Photograph, 9.3 x 8.9 cm

In another of his 1977 series, which Hans-Peter Feldmann would later convert into a book, Alle Kleider einer Frau (“All the Clothes of a Woman”), one of his most poetical works, the small black and white photos show, one by one, 71 garments in the order in which we dress (inside out). Nothing else. The woman who the clothes belong to is veiled. She is an enigma. She is present only through her clothing, converted into fetishistic objects. But the setting is the antithesis of this idea of the sophisticated or perverse fetishistic object. These fetishes are domestic, they are humble and provoke tenderness. Not only is the woman hidden, but so is the action, if there ever was any.
The information which is not given is considered to be given as understood, it isn't mentioned because it belongs to a common area shared between the author and the public. In this case, what is given as understood is the area of sensitive intimacy which Feldmann does not reveal. In the end, we only know for sure that somebody has taken the trouble of photographing all the pieces of clothing of a woman, one by one.
The titles of Feldmann's works, and this would be a good example, give a very clear idea of the way in which he works; they are always descriptive, as if only giving information, but they usually mark out a metaphorical space, as in this case in which there is an "all" of "one". In this series, as in other works by Feldmann, the impulse towards emotional implication is deferred. It is based on his emotional experience, but keeps a distance between language and the personal experience which codifies it, blurring it so as to temper the emotional power. His narratives are made up of non-hierarchical fragments and do not provide the spectator with a single reading or meaning, but rather with an open and inconclusive meaning. Rather than search for a coherent discourse, Feldmann seems to explore the meaninglessness of existence.
Another aspect he finds interesting is leaving the work open, so that it not only allows but demands that the spectator recreate the works, projecting his or her own experience.
Normal life, day to day existence or vision in which Feldmann locates his works is defined by opposition to other levels of human activity. The everyday is associated with the small side of life, with the grey, humble and imprecise element. It is the other side of the coin of the capitalist social scene, whose image, constructed by the media, is colourful, optimistic and logical.

Helena Tatay

Helena Tatay, Texto, Helena Tatay (ed.), Hans-Peter Feldmann. 272 Pages. Barcelona: Fundació Antoni Tàpies, 2001.


Technical details

Original title:
All the clothes of a woman
Registration number:
2254
Artist:
Feldmann, Hans-Peter
Date created:
1970
Date acquired:
2003
Fonds:
MACBA Collection. MACBA Foundation
Object type:
Photograph
Media:
Gelatin silver print
Dimensions:
9.3 x 8.9 cm (height x width)
Credits:
MACBA Collection. MACBA Foundation
Copyright:
© Hans Peter Feldmann, VEGAP, Barcelona
It has accessibility resources:
No

The MACBA Collection features Catalan, Spanish and international art and, although it includes works from the 1920s onwards, its primary focus is on the period between the 1960s and the present.

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While there are ideas about psychological and emotional developmental processes held within the sculptures I make, the things themselves are actual physical explorations into thinking, feeling, communicating and relating.
Karla Black