It's not particularly common that Conceptual Art is thought-provoking, aesthetically pleasing and utterly desirable. Much less often does it engage a viewer with a cheeky sense of humour. The fact that the work of Hans-Peter Feldmann covers all of these points makes him a great asset to contemporary visual art. Serpentine Gallery have a new show of work by the German artist, and it is the perfect opener to what will be a series of summer blockbusters in the park.
Like many of his contemporaries (names including Joseph Beuys and Gerhard Richter), Feldmann came to international prominence in the 1970s; his pre-occupation is in the collection, categorisation, organisation and presentation of common, everyday objects. Systematic and thorough re-organisation of photographs of (generally assumed to be) the banal detritus of daily visual culture displayed across booklets, magazines, books, postcards and installation developed Feldmann's continued interest in slowing time down; using the visual tools of the daily grind, chronicled in the most expansive manner.
For this show at Serpentine Gallery, Feldmann presents works from across his entire career, as well as two new works never shown in the UK. The first extends Feldmann's curiosity in the significance of the ordinary: The artist bought a number of ladies' handbags, paying upto €400 upon approaching them on the street. In the gallery he presents their contents in vitrines and on plinths, in traditional museological display. The second, the series Seascapes, collection fifteen oils painted in the classical sense, displayed in traditional frames.
Feldmann has become one of the most significant contemporary artists working today, with exhibitions including documenta 5, documenta 6 and the 2003 and 2009 Venice Biennali. In 2010 he was the winner of the Hugo Boss Prize and for his winning exhibition at the Guggenheim, New York, he cashed his $100,000 dollar prize in single-dollar bills and pinned every dollar on the walls. An artist who truly understand Conceptualism, this is dismantling every structure you think you know about art, one white cube at a time.
Hans-Peter Feldmann is at Serpentine Gallery until 05 June.