Past Exhibition

Shadow Play

Hans-Peter Feldman - 21 October to 20 December 2010

Installation detail, Shadow Play, October 2010

Installation detail, Shadow Play, October 2010

Installation detail, Shadow Play, October 2010

Installation detail, Shadow Play, October 2010

October 21st 7pm

Belfast Exposed is pleased to present Shadow Play, an installation by veteran conceptual artist Hans-Peter Feldmann. Feldmann is well known for his book works and a practice which combines found photographs, images from advertising, magazines and private albums with kitsch knick-knacks and other ephemera to produce playful, unsettling narrative arrangements.

Shadow Play is comprised of small figurines and household objects placed on slowly revolving platforms. Illuminated by a number of spotlights, their shadows cyclically carousel across the wall. Figures weave in and out of focus, morphing into one another in perpetually shifting combinations, creating a magical world of shadow.


Shadow Play simultaneously makes reference to shadow puppetry, an ancient form of story telling and entertainment, and early optical technologies such as the magic lantern and camera obscura. Magic lantern shows - popular through the 18th and 19th centuries - used proto-type slide projectors for phantasmagorical display and were generally considered a forerunner to cinema. The camera obscura - a dark chamber where an image of the outside world appears projected through a pinhole or aperture - set the scene for the birth of photography.


The early photographer, William Henry Fox Talbot, referred to his initial camera-less experiments in photography as ‘skiagraphy’ or shadow drawing. Man Ray's famous Rayographs and László Moholy-Nagy’s ‘photograms’ are essentially negatives of shadows, outlines of objects placed on light-sensitive material which were then exposed. One of the first portraits was a silhouette, painted on a wall around a shadow cast by a person’s profile. While shadow in Western, classical painting and photography more generally, was used to produce the illusion of three-dimensional form and to add a sense of mystery or drama to the illusion created.

Hans-Peter Feldmann’s fantastical Shadow Play is a celebration of kitsch, a theatre of the absurd and an ode to the world of moving-image with its endless play of light and dark.

Shadow Play is supported by:

Arts Council Northern Ireland
Belfast City Council
Department of Social Development
Lottery Funding