“Mantel Mann” is Alma Feldhandler’s first solo exhibition in the main space of the Galerie Derouillon.
Something about the stories that run under the coats of Alma Feldhandler’s characters always seems to escape us; a whisper from an out-of-frame character, of whom we can only make out an arm or a scrap of coat. We approach them, worried and a little impressed, trying to grasp their meaning, clutching a sleeve.
They could echo John Ashbery’s words, “You are wearing a text”.
The stories they wrap themselves in are shelters for snatches of identity. Somewhere between the figure of the wandering Jew and that of the cowboy, these lonely men evolve in ethereal desert landscapes, sometimes following a horizon line that emerges like a mirage. We meet them in an uncertain situation, a tipping point whose outcome remains unknown. Their tailored jackets, coats, shirts and hats make up a complete costume, like a suit of armor protecting the whole body, the last bastions of a lost domesticity, of a sense of personal interior that they now carry on their backs.
Alma Feldhandler borrows from various references (Lily Jacob’s album of photographs, Saul Leiter’s snapshots, Russian prison literature) a sense of common honor conveyed in clothing, which Georg Simmel describes as the individual’s ultimate attachment to his peers. The “Mantel Mann” exhibition is perhaps a digression, a loop that brings us back to a character where we left him, ready to resume his narrative.
13 Rue De Turbigo, 75002 Paris, France