Born in Hannover in 1978, Jan Kuck at first studied law, and continued with history and philosophy, in which he obtained a master’s degree. Since 1999 Jan has been occupying himself intensively with a self-study in designing objects as well as the production of conceptual art. He has been living and working in Berlin since 2004.
In his conceptual art he carves out the wit and tragedy of our society in a pointed manner. He therefore subdivided society into multiple fine categories to which he assigns all of his works individually.
His currently favoured materials are concrete and wood, as well as neon and glass. In contrast to conentional conceptual art he attaches great importance to the philosophical foundation of his work as well as their aesthetically immaculate design.
Jan conceptualised his first own gallery exhibition (PACKET-SOUP) in 2012, and displayed his work at SAVVY Contemporary Gallery Berlin attracting extensive media coverage.
In October 2013 he presented his design – the T.TABLE – at JR Gallery Berlin to a selected audience and therefore received considerable national and international press attention.
Since June 2014 Jan Kuck has been represented by Bernheimer Contemporary. Since then he participated together with several other artists at a number of Exhibtions curated by Isabel Bernheimer and took part, at Konrad Bernheimer’s stand at the HIGHLIGHTS – International Art Fair Munich in November 2014 and October 2015. 2015 his work „I want to be an artist too“ was succesfully sold at the benefit auction for the Pinakothek der Moderne. Currently he is preparing national and international solo- & group-exhibitions
The artist is represented in Berlin by the gallery Bernheimer Contemporary.
> To the exhibition
Jan Kuck is a conceptual and performance artist. The native Hanoverian lives in Berlin since 2004. His installation “ARACHNE” has already made it to the museum – a carpet woven of glass fibers, shimmering in changing colors, denouncing the working conditions in globalized textile production. We had him in April 2017 in interview.
Jan Kuck. IN THE INTERVIEW. IN|DEEDS.
Two sentences about your Vita.
A pretty crooked line. If I really wanted something, I was always very purposeful, unfortunately I just did not want much. That’s why I’ve always taken a lot of time to try things out and, ultimately, mistakes. Mistakes can be great because they force you to get creative.
What are you most worried about at the moment? what’s on your mind?
In addition to my sometimes completely banal everyday problems, I am mainly concerned with some of the current developments of our society – for some time, especially our irrepressible desire for irresponsibility and simplification, in contrast to the slowly growing realization that we dig our own grave. Whether this realization also leads to the fact that we stop with the “shoveling”, I do not know. Probably not. But this is exactly the tragic comedy that both fascinates and repels me in our society.
How did you come to art? Why art?
Even as a small child I was fascinated by shapes, colors and light. That has always evolved and has been part of my life ever since. However, when my father died unexpectedly after graduation, I was simply overwhelmed with many decisions for a while. In this episode, I began law school, which I then successfully canceled after four years. Finally, I completed a degree in philosophy and history. In the end, that was much better, because I’ve always wanted to ask questions and, in particular, question the world around me without negating them negatively. That is exactly what art is best for me and also the most beautiful. Art is visual philosophy for me.
What makes you happy right now? What are you currently afraid?
Personally my little new apartment on the Silesian Gate. On the other hand, the many opportunities for artistic development that my agency and gallery Bernheimer Contemporary have been able to provide me with for three years make me happier for my career. In addition to the disastrous worldwide shift to the right and the growing stupefaction, the many imponderables with which one is simply confronted, if one is not so well established as an artist, make me afraid. This fear is not bad in itself. Bad is probably only the fear of fear, because it simply paralyzes one.
What is your art? And can you share the intention of your art with us?
To create aesthetically challenging works is certainly one of my great drives. Beauty is very important to me, as long as it is not one-dimensional. Basically, however, I would like to portray a mirror with my art of society, of which I am a clear part and of which I am not exempt, and I would like to ironically point out the absurdity of our behavior. As I said before, it’s about asking questions and telling stories without limiting myself to a medium. This freedom is a great privilege of conceptual art.
How do you protect yourself from too much inspiration in this day and age?
Not at all. There can not be too much inspiration. Of course you have to filter more and more in this day and age of the overflowing flood of information, but you should not confuse that with too much inspiration. And certainly not as an artist you should protect yourself from some form of inspiration.
How do you assess the current development of the art market?
We are currently in a process of major upheavals. Due to the disproportionately high costs, even prestigious galleries in London and New York are revising their existing business model and transforming it from a static to a dynamic, in which the willingness to cooperate and lateral thinking becomes more important and the pure White Cube significantly loses. Online commerce, on the other hand, is becoming increasingly important, but it will never replace traditional retailing, but rather support it. For us artists, this means that we have to do more and more of our own and, consequently, have to bring more skills or learn. That makes it altogether more exciting and hopefully more interesting.
Two sentences about your current project.
For one thing, I am currently developing my technique, which I developed for my luminous carpet ARACHNE. On the other hand, I am currently planning a larger external work, which clearly addresses the mistakes that we have made in foreign affairs in recent years and among which countless people from the countries we have consciously depended on suffer.
What are your (next) goals?
In the near future I would like to work above all international and realize larger installations. And I’d really like to expand on the small-scale collaboration that I currently only have through my work BLACK GOLD with Human Rights Watch.
What role does humor play in your work?
Recently, one of my friends was in a very uncomfortable situation and I thought about how to give him courage again. The following sentence occurred spontaneously to me, about which I was so pleased that I’m just a new work made of him: “Without humor, life would be a joke about which no one laughs.” Laughter is so important in my work, also or especially if it gets stuck in your throat now and then.
Artistic Curriculum Vitae
- 2016 (July – September) Plastic-Difficulty – Umweltbundesamt Dessau
- 2016 (Juli – August) carpetNOW – Archtictual Biennal Venice
- 2016 (Juli – August) carpetNOW – tim Museum Augsburg
- 2016 (April – June) What would you die for? – Bernheimer Contemporary @ Residenz Monbijou, Berlin
- 2016 (February – April) Reflection . self-reflection – Bernheimer Contemporary @ Residenz Monbijou, Berlin
- 2015 (December) Berlin and Munich in artistic dialogue – m+projekt Kunstraum, Munichs
- 2015 (November – December) THE TASTE OF ADDICTION – Bernheimer Contemporary @ Residenz Monbijou, Berlin
- 2015 (December) nice from far from nice – Pop-Up Restaurant with Bernheimer Contemporary & Moritz von Hohenzollern – Munich
- 2015 (November) PIN. Freunde der Pinakothek der Moderne e.V. – 13. BENEFIZAUKTION 2015
- 2015 (October) HIGHLIGHTS International Art Fair Munich – Gallery Bernheimer / Colnaghi, Munich/London
- 2015 (July – August) Who Cares? Social Responsibility in Contemporary Art – Bernheimer Contemporary @ Residenz Monbijou, Berlin
- 2014 (November) HIGHLIGHTS International Art Fair Munich – Gallery Bernheimer / Colnaghi, Munich/London
- 2014 (September) VANTIAS – Bernheimer Contemporary as guest at Bernheimer Fine Old Masters, Munich
- 2013 (October – November) The T.TABLE I – JRGallery, Berlin
- 2012 (May – June) PACKET-SOUP – SAVVY Contemporary Gallery, Berlin