Jan Albers

parcOurs mOrtale

April 15 - June 24, 2012

In parallel to the large-scale exhibition “Homage to Marianne Langen”, the Langen Foundation is now periodically presenting monographic exhibitions by contemporary artists in the so-called “Japan Room”. The first artist to make an appearance is Jan Albers (born 1971, lives in Düsseldorf). Under the heading “parcOurs mOrtale” he is introducing around 25 artworks created over the past three years.

Like various artists of his generation, Jan Albers takes up a contemporary conception of the image that, rather than deriving from the tradition of painting, takes recourse to artistic issues from the 1960s. Negotiated by the artist in his works are elementary questions of form and abstraction, whereby to him the process of creation shares equal importance with the presentation of the artwork itself.

Jan Albers’s image-works are engendered through what is, on occasion, a considerable exertion of strength, a process the artist calls “constructing”. In an initial step, he produces the materials used in his works, for instance by spraying sheets of paper with paint or applying gold leaf before starting to cut or perforate the paper. Albers also integrates heavy materials like metal or ceramics, with metal tubing needing to be cut and bent to appropriate size and holes drilled into ceramic pieces. He then weaves, assembles, or collages the prepared materials into image-objects and even frequently attaches badges – round pins with motifs like eyes or occasional text fragments. The finished works are placed in protective Plexiglas boxes.

These works of art, which from afar appear to be abstract compositions in the format of classical pictorial carriers, reveal their actual complexity when viewed up close. The intricately wrought image-bodies have an alluring effect thanks to their haptic appearance while simultaneously keeping viewers at a distance.

At the Langen Foundation, the works of Jan Albers are being shown in the strongly elongated skylight room, which was designed by architect Tadao Ando as a space of “serenity” for the Japanese section of the Langen Collection. This gallery space has been turned into a dynamic “parcOurs mOrtale” by Albers: the walls have lent structure through long, dark-grey planes. It is upon these surfaces that the object-images “transpire” – flanked by metal constructions that aggressively protrude into the space. This room is entered by way of a separate door situated to the left of the Langen Foundation entryway. Awaiting those who enter is not a place of tranquillity but rather a dynamic parcourse where Albers’s “harassing art” is powerfully obstructing the path.

On the occasion of the exhibition, the first comprehensive monograph on Jan Albers, edited by Christiane Maria Schneider of the Langen Foundation, will be published by Berlin’s Distanz Verlag. The publication has a foreword by Christiane Maria Schneider and text contributions by Kay Heymer, Brigitte Kölle, Stefanie Kreuzer, and Vanessa Joan Müller, 200 p. with 180 ill., German/English.

In addition, the Langen Foundation will be issuing a small catalogue to accompany the exhibition.

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