On the equally specific and general, productive and reproductive, material and immaterial nature of artistic labour.
Sergej Jensen (b. 1973) is among the younger representatives of the contemporary generation of painters. His oeuvre includes paintings, music, performances, and installations; the paintings, mostly abstract compositions in large formats, take center stage. Jute, linen, and colorful fabrics now on standardized stretcher frames and now on frames he builds himself are the materials Sergej Jensen uses as textile support media. Yet they are more than mere grounds onto which a picture is applied, as is customarily the case in painting; instead, they become the work’s content in their own right as found traces of wear and use on the fabrics suddenly take on a painterly quality when the textiles are stretched, affixed, glued, or sown onto or into one another. Sergej Jensen uses pigments, diamond dust, nail polish, yarn, woolen threads, bleach, or the effects of exposure to the weather as painterly means. The way Jensen manipulates his pictures in a process that often takes months, even years, allows them to come into being almost as though of their own accord, as humidity and exposure to the sun, for instance, generate effects that are impossible to create with selected techniques or treatments. The organic materials the artist likes to use change over time—an aspect that is of central importance in Jensen’s oeuvre. The traces of transience become in his work a painterly gesture. His paintings are accordingly never pure and formalist expressions of artistic creativity, but always also autonomous organisms that develop partly in accordance with their own laws.
At Portikus, Sergej Jensen will subdivide the exhibition space. The front half of the room will be used to present a selection of new and existing paintings by the artist. A temporary wall in the back section of the room will create a cabinet-like area in which Jensen will present for the first time his dog drawings, an impressive collection he has created over an extended period of time, working on a great variety of support media. This collection has given the exhibition its title, Dog Show Painting Show.
With generous support from Stiftung Polytechnische Gesellschaft.
Sergej Jensen’s project is one in a series of exhibitions; a cooperation between Stiftung Polytechnische Gesellschaft, Frankfurt am Main, the Städelschule, and Portikus. Once every year, the exhibition series seeks to show an exhibition created especially for Portikus by a former Städelschule student who has successfully pursued a career as an artist after graduation and is being exhibited on the national or international stage. By showing his or her work at Portikus, the series seeks to present the artist in Frankfurt and give his or her work local visibility. With this exhibition series, Stiftung Polytechnische Gesellschaft, Frankfurt am Main, seeks to draw attention to Frankfurt’s contribution to contemporary art and to support young artists from Frankfurt.
Stiftung Polytechnische Gesellschaft, Frankfurt am Main, was founded in 2005. Its philanthropic work is concentrated in three main areas: education, science, and technology; arts and culture, including preservation of the city’s cultural heritage; and social, charitable, and humanitarian work. It seeks to contribute to Frankfurt’s development as a model modern and citizen-centered urban society.