Over the course of the years, Jan Christensen has developed a complex art practice, which ranges from large-scale wall paintings, sculptures, installations and sound art. The different media compete in a mode of experimentation, referring beyond the field of visual arts, questing into design, architecture and music. This has led the artist to activities outside traditional gallery and museum spaces. Alongside his exhibitions, he curates projects and realizes artworks in the public sphere. In his artistic practice Christensen responds to current discourses in contemporary art, media, culture, considering different aspects of producing art today.
For the exhibition in Berlin, Jan Christensen revisits earlier projects, which considered sonic experiences, audio visual expressions and references to music. For instance, a series of wall paintings entitled Optical Sound (2000-2004), installations such as Good Times Make You Think That You Are The Lucky One (2006), Onomatopoeia and the LEAP and Seoul sessions (2011-2013). Some of these works were conceived as huge, gestural compositions of psychedelic paintings, light and video work, acoustic instruments along with sound modulators and customized synthesizers. The artist now again directs his interest to the traditional flat surface.
Considering the framework and his references, Jan Christensen’s new work alludes to graphic design and visual art alike. Grids of posters are arranged on the flat surfaces of canvases and gallery walls. These gritty, desaturated images depict fragments of record cover art. The casual, grid-based compositions of the posters repeat themselves in the collections of images; these are images within images. The sheer number of covers and records represent snippets of titles, bands and artists, some more obscure than others. The artist carefully edits this collection of images at every stage of preparation and assembly, and adds elements contributing to his own graphic aesthetics.
Through the use of collage and chaos, the very personal selection and arrangement of references hints to the contemporary culture of idiosyncrasy. One could also consider the contrarian strategies involved in any form of unique artistic expression and the inherent dialogue with contemporary discourse and history. An artist is a person who progressively searches for new ideas, challenging stereotypical ideas. Yet such a specialized form of expression is a lonely process of work, often a sort of short-circuited debate, resulting in the artist returning to the same starting point before making another attempt at grasping the moment of inspiration.