In his seventh solo exhibition with 303 Gallery, Hans-Peter Feldmann continues with his tradition of collecting and rearranging objects, in this case paintings bought on auction in order to create a complex and unique painting show that confronts art history, time, and painting itself in a whimsical manner. When entering the gallery, the viewer is confronted with not only paintings that were made during the 19th and 20th century installed salon-style in the middle of the room, but also with confusion from seeing the paintings installed as objects, thus seeing the backs of the framed stretchers.
The most notable aspect of this exhibit is the different installation methods Feldmann used to hang his paintings. Two different series, Sea Paintings and Back of the nude woman (15 oil paintings on linen, framed, and 11 oil paintings on linen, framed, respectively) are hung salon style, floating, in the middle of the gallery so that the backs of the paintings are exposed, facing each other. There is also Horizon, in which he arranged 11 oil paintings on canvas in a linear fashion so that the horizon lines up throughout the paintings, therefore creating a painting that does not belong to a specific time or place, but rather, a combination of all of the individual paintings’ times and spaces. Both the paintings Feldmann chose and the way in which he chose to arrange them is a painterly gesture that deals with complicated subjects such as authorship in narrative, using these acquired artworks as materials. This method of re-arranging a pre-existing object, in this case a painting, brings to mind Joseph Cornell’s assemblages where he arranged found objects in a collage-like manner in a box. Feldmann takes this one step further by using each of the paintings, which contains a narrative portrayed by the actual painter, and using them as a fraction of a narrative that he portrays through the arrangement and installation of the paintings. In addition to this re-imagined narrative, witnessing salon-style paintings in a three-dimensional format allows viewers to read the installation as sculpture when viewed as a whole. Feldmann successfully treads on this conceptual in-between space of painting and sculpture through a spatial intervention using a historically relevant method of installation, still widely recognizable but not part of a contemporary form.
Hans-Peter Feldmann presents what could be called a timeless exhibition by using the works of painters that came before him, all while creating a new narrative. It will be on view from September 15 to October 29th at 303 Gallery, 555 West 21st Street, New York, NY.
Jongho Lee is the Editorial Assistant of Eyes Towards the Dove. He is currently at student at New York University, Steinhart School of Education and you can follow him on Instagram @jongholee_