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CHOI&LAGER Gallery, Seoul is pleased to present Synthetic Horizons by German artist Jan-Ole Schiemann; the artists' inaugural solo show in Asia.
The clue for understanding Jan-Ole Schiemann's work is the 1920's American cartoons like 'Betty Boop' and 'Popeye' which are also well known in Korea. Schiemann was profoundly captivated by the aesthetics of those cartoons, later transforming stills and characters into abstracted images through his unique vision; thus reconstructing them onto canvas. While Schiemann's works may seem abstract at initial glance, the audience becomes a witness to an unfolding of concrete images in one's mind based on memories and experiences of their own.
The artist's main mediums are the ones used in conventional cartoon production: black ink and primary colours in acrylic. To begin, the artist primes with thin washes of ink, then begins to build significant layers, adding bold lines and planes with ink and primary colours in varied values. Additionally, he repeats certain patterns and paints over them giving a sense of real tactility of a collage. Because of the complexity of the new images created and reconstructed by the artist, the flat surface of a canvas comes into real life with a feeling of three-dimensional space and solid. The works appear to be living, breathing and ever changing, almost like a film sequence. This effect of 'kinetic' or 'moving painting' is one of the core elements of the artist's intention. It is also the key aesthetic of Jan-Ole Schiemann's painting that stimulates the viewer's imagination that freely crosses the boundary between the figurative and the abstract world.
Synthetic Horizons is a representation of the artist's process of synthesising random layers of imagery onto canvas. The combination of layers are left intentionally confrontational, allowing each component to be an independent yet essential value to the piece as a whole. The artists' presence and intention becomes more apparent from the blue gradients which can be seen in almost every painting from the exhibition. These blue gradients can be interpreted symbolically; as primary blue holds historical and global associations with the sky; an un-complex yet important suggestion of gradation. Furthermore, it connects the viewer with the artists' material process as the blue Schiemann uses connects to the traditional woodcut print colour defining a virtual space in time.
The works of Jan-Ole Schiemann call for the visual concentration and participation of the viewer. In other words, the viewer must keep crossing the various layers (geometrical images on the background, drawing on the front) that the artist has created.
Born and raised in Kiel, North Germany, Jan-Ole Schiemann studied Fine Art at Kunsthochschule Kassel and later graduated under the teachings of Professor Andreas Schulze at Kunstakademie Duesseldorf. Schiemann is now based in Cologne and has become one of the most prominent young artists of his generation with upcoming shows in Seoul, New York and Los Angeles.
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