until 06.04. | #2376ARTatBerlin | CAMERA WORK shows from 2nd March 2019 the exhibition Mauerspiel by the artist Jens Lorenzen.
The gallery CAMERA WORK is pleased to present the exhibition “Mauerspiel” by the painter Jens Lorenzen from 2 March 2019. With more than 40 works from the cycle “Mauer I-IV”, the solo exhibition shows the main work of the Berlin artist, who in his oeuvre, with influences of Pop Art and fresco painting of the Italian Renaissance, thematizes the loss of the authority of signs over meaning.
After the successful exhibition in the CWC GALLERY in 2015, “Mauerspiel” is the artist’s second exhibition at CAMERA WORK.
The Concept of »Mauer I–IV«
What do the Queen, the chocolate bar “Kit Kat”, the watch brand “Rolex”, a novel by Émile Zola and a poster with the inscription “Klassenkampf” have in common? The invitation to open up a connection imposes itself on the viewer of Jens Lorenzen’s work “Queen” (Mauer I Element Minus 30), in which all these contents are visually condensed. An associative context opens up for the artist here. “Nothing is as it seems,” says Jens Lorenzen, meaning the loss of the clarity of words and signs. The painter deals with this phenomenon in his works by combining symbols, brand logos, posters, billboards or newspaper articles that at first glance seem to have no causal connection, but whose associative connection results from the questioning of the sign: “By taking things and signs at their word, absurdities arise”. In his painting “Queen” Jens Lorenzen takes up the logo of the chocolate bar “Kit Kat”, which leads him to an advertising poster for the Berlin nightclub of the same name. Similarly, the word “Muhammad” appears in the work “X-Men” (Mauer IV Element Minus 25) in connection with the boxing champion Muhammad Ali on the one hand and as the title of the newspaper “Muhammad Speaks” on the other. This was the official newspaper of the “Nation of Islam”, a religious-political organization in the USA. The Muslim minister and representative of this organization, Malcolm X, has with a large “X” on the wall element a reference, which at the same time establishes a connection to the lettering of the comic “X-Men”.
Through its four walls, which consist of numerous individual pictures, thematic complexes run like a red thread, connecting not only the individual pictures, but also the many fragments within them. Israel, for example, represents such a complex of themes, to which a whole series of Wall III elements is dedicated. Jens Lorenzen takes up profound socially relevant questions, sometimes comically, sometimes contemplatively, and always complex. Jens Lorenzen links hundreds of contexts in his precisely created murals and interweaves them between the wall pieces. The artist sees each of his four walls as a picture, only that it is not finished – he blows up the room and tries to capture it again on the wall.
Jens Lorenzen (v.l.n.r.): Mauer IV Element Minus 25 »X-Men«,
Mauer I Element Minus 30 »Queen«, Mauer I Element Plus 18 »Wort zum Sonntag«
The infinite is also what determines the position of the creative work in the art historical context. The cycles of the Wall are potentially endless, and through new references they continue to develop to the left and right, thus establishing an artistic, organic concept that stands out from the classical understanding of the image. Jens Lorenzen is not interested in the striking juxtaposition of popular signs for the sake of pure commodity aesthetics. While the cracked patina is reminiscent of fresco painting and poster fragments, Jens Lorenzen’s concept differs significantly from that of Pop Art and Nouveaux Réalistes: the artist does not ennoble the everyday, he relates it in a thoughtful way and transfers theoretical onomasiology into art. The Apple logo in “Daily Prophet” (Wall I, Element Plus 17) no longer advertises the Apple brand, but becomes itself a work of art and, through semantic associations, serves to create order out of the disorder of signs and their meanings. The wall is an attempt to aestheticize the danger that results from the technical reproducibility of signs and their loss of the sovereignty of meaning.
The creative process
Philosophical studies, religious research, reading, and travels always serve as sources of inspiration, during which he photographs posters, magazines, or cultural signs as preliminary work for his works, before transferring them to the canvas in his Berlin studio. The process of sketching with acrylic and the subsequent multi-layered oil decoration takes up to four months for each piece of wall. The creation of associations between the individual elements within a piece of wall and the content-related transitions to the following pieces usually take place during the artistic process.
Jens Lorenzen was born in 1961 in Schleswig. After graduating from high school and training as a journeyman carpenter, Jens Lorenzen studied painting under Prof. Hermann Albert at the HBK in Braunschweig. Jens Lorenzen’s artistic career began with his move to Berlin in 1991. The painter’s oeuvre has always been influenced by art history and biography: from stays in the USA to the examination of Pop Art and fresco painting of the Italian Renaissance. The current cycle “Mauer I-IV” is regarded as one of his major works. As part of the completion of the work “We are Pope”, he will be honoured in 2010 with an audience with the then Pope Benedict XVI, to whom he was allowed to present the work. Jens Lorenzen’s works have been part of numerous renowned solo and group exhibitions for over 20 years and are presented at international art fairs, including Art Karlsruhe, Art Miami, Kunst Zürich, the Zona Maco in Mexico and Art Central in Hong Kong. In addition, the works of Jens Lorenzen are represented in important art collections (including Axel Springer Verlag, Commerzbank, Museumsberg Flensburg, Norddeutsche Landesbank, Volkswagen Bank).
Exhibition period: Saturday, 2nd March – Saturday, 6th April 2019
Image caption: Courtesy of CAMERA WORK, © Jens Lorenzen
Exhibition Jens Lorenzen – Camera Work | Zeitgenössische Kunst in Berlin | Contemporary Art | Exhibitions Berlin Galleries | ART at Berlin