extended until 24.01. | #2588ARTatBerlin | Galerie Brockstedt presents from 12th September 2019 an exhibition with works by the artist Horst Janssen (1929-1995) for his 90th birthday.
Horst Janssen – classic and rebel at the same time. Galerie Brockstedt is pleased to present 50 works by this great artist from all phases of his career. They come from various private collections.
In 1980 the artist wrote about himself: “I am after the fleeting phenomena of this world in their changing disguises, so that at my funeral I could say: “I saw it!”. And if I scream until then and in between, then leave me alone”.
The former director of the Vienna Albertina, Hofrat Prof. Dr. Koschatzky, counted him among the “greatest drawing artists of the present”, who was already honoured with 50 museum retrospectives during his lifetime.
The oeuvre of Horst Janssen, who was born in Hamburg in 1929 and died in 1995, comprises more than 20,000 drawings and watercolours, around 5000 prints and over 100 participations in book publications. He had the twofold talent on the one hand of relentlessly observing what was outwardly visible and on the other of capturing the hidden emotions of the psyche with his highly idiosyncratic drawing handwriting and revealing to the viewer the innermost with all his fears and desperate questions of meaning. No matter whether they are trees, landscapes or portraits – what he drew mostly had to do with himself, up to the limits of suffering in this world.
In the 1960s, the artist developed into an outstanding draughtsman who also gained recognition beyond national borders. The so-called “Hundred Thousand Line Drawings” unfold their rich expressive possibilities through modelling nuances of brightness between black and white, mostly with restrained colour accents.
Like almost no other artist, Janssen mastered the high art of self-description – “self” with him throughout his life. His own face was stylized into the soul landscape or the colorful “nature morte” of a bouquet of flowers, or repeatedly registered with the signs of physical decay. Janssen was only too well aware of his own transience and vulnerability – but with the radical expression of immediate personal experience, he also shakes us with the general, existential that becomes visible behind it and affects each of us. The self-portraits shown here are mainly from the series “Paranoia”, which is regarded as the climax of his work. Janssen said about this complex of works: “the self-portrait is not only presented as self-exposure and self-twinification as before, but as a big, colorful slaughter festival”.
Not only in his self-portraits did Janssen observe the process of decay, but also in his flower still lifes there is an autumnal wilting already in bloom; under his crayon they lay down the typical plant characteristics and become essentially vulnerable creatures.
On the subject of EROS Janssen confessed: “Eros, this cute, almighty guy who cuddles around in our soul, and the funny SEXUS in our brain, from where he takes us into his little bag on occasion, the two of them move the world – in the most beautiful way all our spiritual and bodily pleasures – in a mean way also our material desires and ambitions. So ALLLES:” Five watercolours on this theme from the series ‘Phyllis’, created in 1978, are presented here.
He regularly dealt with his models from the history of art and varied them virtuosically, from the old masterly to the naive stroke gesture. Always looking for the beginning, he copied great draughtsmen such as Primaticcio, Botticelli, Klinger or Meryon and transformed the spirit of these great masters of his very own language. “The whole society of long deceased draughtsmen is breathing down your neck,” Janssen himself once noted.
As with still lifes, Janssen’s landscapes also go beyond the usual boundaries of dealing with reality. In addition to the early landscapes already mentioned, several sheets from the series “Bobethania” can also be seen, which were created in 1990, so to speak according to his inner eye, on the basis of descriptions by his girlfriend Heidrun Bobeth: as a reflex of his own life situation – often bathed in dramatic lighting – trees that have fallen to the ground and wild growths of plants in front of a northerly high sky can be found here. Janssen perceived landscape as a counterpart liberating himself from the strong ego: “Where one sees the twilight of the gods under two thunderstorms, I feel comfortable (…) when this silent world is reversedly illuminated, with all light emanating from the earth and all bushes and grass and water shining whitish green in front of the heavenly black, then great comfort comes over me: I lose my identity for a moment and nothing is there that disturbs me by remembering.” (Janssen)
Horst Janssen passionately embodied the type of ingenious artist who doesn’t care about bourgeois conventions. In doing so, he fulfilled all expectations that are connected with the concept of genius: the excess, the eccentric and the angry self-destruction (quote Prof. Urlaß PH Heidelberg).
Vernissage: Thursday, 12 September 2019, 6:00 – 9:00 pm
Exhibition period: Thursday, 12 September to Thursday, 14 November 2019 – ATTENTION: extended again until 24. January 2020!
Exhibition Horst Janssen – Galerie Brockstedt | Zeitgenössische Kunst in Berlin | Contemporary Art | Exhibitions Berlin Galleries | ART at Berlin