Following his successful solo show during last year’s Summer Marathon (in which 7 artists presented weeklong solo shows over the summer), German artist Jan Sebastian Koch returns to the gallery with his first full-length exhibition. Titled If Mountains Could Sing, the exhibition takes inspiration from his adopted home of Norway, Icelandic music, and the “silence and calmness in Northern Norway” where the artist states that there are few people and hardly any sound apart from the wind through the landscape. Looking at his serene, ethereal colour-field paintings, it is easy to imagine shifting polar landscapes, melting ice-caps, or the first sprig of flora awakening through the melted snow. In this regard, there is a type of poeticism or spiritualism that surfaces throughout the works. Koch states that working in such solitude and with such focus has introduced him to a sense of “profound humility, a whole new connection to nature and, happiness” – a sort of internal purification that comes through the cleansing air and crystalline blue skies.
Upon asking Koch to elaborate on his recent work and techniques, he replied with a list of pigments – it reads like a small poem and is included here in its entirety. Colours Pigments Rare pigments Like epidot Malachit Han blue, which is very rare, and bright, bright French ochre One cannot help but feel the monumental and sublime power before Koch’s work, which perhaps best suggests their link to nature, human state of being, and our own sense of self-worth and the beauty both in the external landscape and the spiritual inward forces that compel us from day to day.
Jan Sebastian Koch might just be the art-world’s best kept secret: his ethereal, dreamlike landscape and fantastical still life paintings evoke the otherworldliness of Chagall or Matisse, handled with a masterful approach to contemporary painting rarely matched by an artist at such a young age. The works are at once poetic, powerful, and deceptively simple: cerulean hues and pastel planes delineate a mountain, a body of water, or a rocky outreach. Through a style that is simultaneously ‘landscape’ painting and completely abstract, the artist recalls contemporary peers Andreas Eriksson or Harold Ancart, but with a greater poetic sensitivity that suggests an emotional understanding or even through his literary imbued titles, even a sense of developing narrative. In 2019 we proudly presented Jan Sebastian in his first major solo outing, which nearly sold out in its first 5 days. We have great aspirations for this incredibly talented painter.
Jan Koch (b.1978 Monchengladbach) graduated with an MA from the University of Art in Berlin in 2005. Solo exhibitions include: ‘Shelter from the Storm’, BEERS London, London (2019); ‘New Paintings’, Avlskarl Gallery, Copenhagen (2013). Group exhibitions include: ‘Roter Hirsch’ codexberlin, Berlin (2018); ‘Black Box’ Kunsthalle, Luneburg (2018) and; ‘No More Heroes Anymore’ Kreuzberg Pavillion, Berlin (2016). Koch currently lives and works in Berlin.