Jan-Hendrik Pelz


Tell us about yourself and your work.


My works are mainly situated in the field of oil painting. Many of my works take on the medium itself or put the medium to the test. My artistic position moves across borders between media, whereby painting and conceptual approaches are fused with performative elements. Among the key starting points of my work are the search for strategies to unveil new ways of image composition, the engagement of the artist as creator, as well as heteronymous influences on the artistic process. The themes in the field of performance and video art revolve around social processes, the integration of urban space as well as its residents, the employment of familiar formulas and their alienation as well as the examination of the self with regard to the observer’s reflections. Work on individual series and bodies of works, some of which are created in collaboration with a team, often extends over a long period of time. Almost always, several pieces are worked on simultaneously. I currently live and work near Stuttgart.


“La pause”, oil on canvas, 75×135 cm, 2016


Where does the inspiration come from?


I get inspiration from different aspects, the most important spheres are works from other artists, physics, psychology, and mystic. But also my environment inspires me all the time. My intent:  Just keep your eyes open and try to stop the all-time- rendition.


I am a conceptual painter. This means that the artistic idea is paramount for me, and ultimately finds its outlet in painting, oftenmingled with text or other media. The idea provides the frame- work, and this in turn affects how I approach the subject. I’m always looking for ways to leave behind traditional approaches to image creation, and to develop and apply new or alternative methods. For the «Favorites» series that I produced between 2013 and 2015, I asked 66 artists to tell me their favorite film andgive an arbitrary series of numbers as a time code. Then I stopped the films at the relevant point and converted the resulting unfore- seeable stills into paintings. This resulted in 66 oil paintings based on the collaboration between me and the other artists who had named their films and guided me towards the images. The final composition was determined at random by the spontaneous identification of the time code numbers.


Which is the need of your art?


Mostly I work in the field of oil painting and use special colors for a special glaze method. In other cases I draw on paper, with ink or coal.
My sculptures or installations made with different kinds of materials, as stone, fossils, wax or glass. But I also do video art and performance- the needs are different.


“Enjoyment of art”, performance, Zurich 2016


Tell us about your experiences in art fairs, exhibitions and others.


I like to show my artworks, I like good exhibitions- I hate arrogant artists or curators. Ok, that´s not a answer, that´s a stereotype- well, a true stereotype. But what to say? Art fairs, exhibitions, auctions- that´s all a part of art, a part of the game. The art market is diverse, not all art dealers are greedily turbo-capitalists, not every cultural worker is clever as he / she shows and so on. Artists need the market and the market needs artists, mostly everything is alright. People just should stay on the right track : The main thing is always the artwork!


What does it means the art for you?


As an artist I have the freedom to work experimentally, and I can change direction if I need to. That´s the freedom of art. So tomorrow I could work with cow dung or nettles, whatever I feel like. Whether the cow dung project would actually work is another matter.


Untitled, oil on canvas, 100×150 cm, 2013


What do you think about the art system in your country?


There´s a change at the moment. Galleries close their white cubes and shift to solely art fair showing or online selling. As with all fundamental changes, I think you can make arguments for and against it. If it’s handled well there are more pluses than minuses. Another thing is, that big and strong galleries with “trophy artists” dominate more and more the system- and destroy often smaller, but fine galleries- a pity.


What is the future of art?


The future of art is is a secret, I´m the only one who knows… I will not tell.




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