Jorn Ebner makes internet-based, photographic, print and sculptural works that reveal ordinary spaces and locations to be punctured through by tensions and contradictions.
Taking the exhibition title from a phrase in Jack Kerouac's novel On the Road, for 'Uncertainty underneath immense skies' Ebner creates imaginary realms that seem to hover somewhere between a vision of utopia and dystopia. His actions of marking and mapping in these abstracted, virtual environments are a response to place: small gestures of trespass or disruption exploring and testing basic assumptions around notions of naturalness and artificiality. Ebner's diagrammatic renditions of landscapes and cityscapes are designed to unsettle and challenge the idea of fixed meanings and categorisation.
The Brautigan series of drawings are named for Richard Brautigan, the American novelist, poet, short story writer and revered figure of the 1960s counterculture. The works, drawn directly on computer and digitally printed, have a sense of the period: the age of free love, youthful rebellion and the hippy generation, but this is not a carefree land of lotus-eaters. Ethereal figures are seen cavorting through an abstracted environment, lost in a hedonistic bacchanalia. Swirling, jagged, lines of colour dart around them: electrical charges perhaps or an hallucinogenic drug-induced delirium? These lines often attach themselves to the revellers, mottling their skins as if with psychedelic body-art; other individuals are obscured, almost obliterated by the intensity of the frenetic, scribbled marks. Acting as a continuation of the Brautigan works, Ebner's Jack Kerouac series are hand drawn in a combination of pencil, marker, and pastel, providing an analogue counterpoint to the digital rendering of the former. Many of the drawings are populated by figures of children, again seemingly lost within their surroundings.
Alongside these two collections of drawings, Ebner presents a series of digital landscapes, working with a 3D modelling software to generate images that explore the languages of the computer game, photography and painting. Subverting the programme to create abstractions of landscapes or of turbulent skies, he blurs the boundary between natural and artificial environments, with art historic references and digital reality. Some appear as aerial, topographical views of dark, brooding, apparently impenetrable forest, or as stark, barren rock. Occasionally, these terrains erupt into flame as if in the throes of some terrible cataclysm. Within the context of the exhibition, these forbidding territories act in some way as environments for the characters in the Brautigan and Jack Kerouac series. The difficulties and insecurity that Ebner's waiflike beings are confronted with represent the artist's attempts to overcome his own sense of the uncertainty of existence in the digital age.
The exhibition also includes the projection work, Herr Kinski, a sequence of eighty-one black and white slides. Moving through Munich, the piece contains several cinematic references. Parts were photographed in the old ticket hall of the city's central train station where, according to his autobiography, the actor Klaus Kinski was spat at in the 1950s; others near and inside Nymphenburger Park, where Alain Resnais shot the film, 'Last Year in Marienbad', and a chapel where Michelangelo Antonioni set a sequence in 'The Passenger'. As in Ebner's other work and the films he references, the piece constructs an enigmatic narrative structure, in which truth and fiction are difficult to distinguish, and the temporal and spatial relationships of events are open to question.