Jan Koch / Böseistswennsnichtweiter
Jan Koch (b. 1978 in Mönchengladbach), in his first solo show at gallery Jette Rudolph, presents his newest works featuring both small and large formatted paintings as well as sculpture. He dedicates purity and reduction of geometrical form to an added philosophical dimension.
The title “böseistswennsnichtweiter“ brings together collective themes reflected within the exhibited works: Abstraction, Nihilism and the symbolic…
The square and circle (dot) are pivotal to the motifs figured in the works of Jan Koch. A similar formal reduction can also be found in the works of the Russian Suprematists, specifically Malewitsch; Bauhaus, the Dutch DeStijl or the later Minimal Art. What is on the one hand a formulation of a universal language as well as putting forward the idea of the serial; it is the concept of tautology which Jan Koch employs within his works to create from the “smallest form (…) an arbitrary system” [J. Koch]. This translates itself from the object to the canvas.
The strict reduction of form- interpreted by Malewitsch as the “zero point of art”- does not target the mathematically calculated, instead it concerns itself with the spiritual in its purest form and the experience which articulates itself in the “purest obliteration of matter in the empty white of non-existence” (Johannes Meinhardt, Ende der Malerei und Malerei nach dem Ende der Malerei, Hatje Cantz Verlag, Ostfildern, 1997).
Through the form of the cross and the square, Jan Koch is able to fuse the two-dimensional into the three-dimensional; to the object. According to J. Albers: “the square, with its four equal sides refers to a top, a bottom, east and west”. With this in mind, Christian-mythological symbols combined with an objective grounding are repeatedly displayed within the canvases of Jan Koch. The cross-motif, whose origin is based in icon(ic) painting, resurfaces within Koch’s works- however with a ritualistic handling of the third form of abstraction.
The deliberate as well as the conscious is set in contrast to the idea of the unconscious and the process of the incidental- Jan Koch subjects the surface of the canvas to chemical substances such as Chloride or sandpaper in order to partially erode the concrete form as well as to create a break within the rigidity of the geometric shapes. At the same time, the restriction of Koch’s palette harmonises the natural tone of the canvas with the purity of form.
His mirrored cube is reminiscent of the minimalist sculpture of Robert Morris, 1965 “untitled”, yet through the installation of neon pipes within the body of the work, Koch evokes an additional dimension: the play of light. The intangible quality of light, as well as the reflection of reality (the surrounding environment), appears to alleviate the boundaries of form.
The material and the immaterial oscillate between each other by way of the construction/ placement of the object, simultaneously experiencing the incidental. The constellation and construction of the cube leads to an autonomous realisation of the art work. The distance to the viewed object is reduced, up-scaled and transformed from a two-dimensionally recognised image to a three-dimensional sculpture. The interplay between the natural and the artificially created effect; between the deliberate and the accidental; between reduction and increased dimension result in the pivotal motifs featured in the newest works of Jan Koch.