"Art should not be sacred - on the contrary. Art is a very banal everyday thing for everyone."
(Hans-Peter Feldmann)

Throughout his life, the Düsseldorf conceptual artist Hans-Peter Feldmann (1941-2023) defied expectations and attributions. From the beginning, his working method, characterized by humor and playful irony, earned him a special role in the German and international art world: the role of an artist's artist. As early as 1973, for example, the Danish painter and sculptor Per Kirkeby (1938-2018) - inspired by the "liberating feeling of lightness and communication" that viewing Feldmann's early artist's books had triggered - dedicated a short essay to him.


With consistent idiosyncrasy, Feldmann, beginning in the late 1960s, took Walter Benjamin's reflections on the concept of the original, its aura, and the related problem of the reproducible work of art to absurdity. From a seemingly endless collection of images, which he arranged or jumbled according to rules he chose himself, he created - according to the principle of series and repetition - ever new artistic works and conceptual books. In addition to his own photographic images, for which he himself basically used the sober word "pictures," he increasingly resorted to found material from everyday life, press photographs, and mass-produced trivial objects of all kinds. In an amusing way, he played the keyboard of kitsch and art history with his artistic combinatorics.


One of these series, "21 Bilder von Feldmann" (1976/77) was shown at documenta 6 in 1977. It consists of 21 unframed silkscreen prints of variable sizes - the closely aligned motifs range from lovers to clichéd, cloying landscape impressions to fluffy kittens. An outline of social iconography including the phenomenon of "cat content" avant la lettre.


In 1980 Feldmann drew a line under his work. He destroyed his works and withdrew from the art context for years until he finally resumed activity.


His sensational works of more recent years include the garishly painted David - a replica of Michelangelo's large-scale Florentine sculpture, which was temporarily on view in 2006 on the forecourt of Cologne's Museum Ludwig, as well as his almost discreet contribution to the Skulptur Projekte in Münster: there, in 2007, he redesigned the public toilets below the Domplatz: to this day, garishly colored images of flowers can be admired on the walls of the toilet, while flushes rush and occasional coins jingle in the money bowl at the entrance under the plastic chandelier. Art and everyday life were never separate for Feldmann.


Hans-Peter Feldmann died on May 26 at the age of 82.