JARIK JONGMAN: UTOPIAN SPIRIT AND HARBOURING IDEAL VISIONS OF HUMAN LIFE

In his work over the years he has explored ideas concerning transience, ontology, religion and history.

By Balthazar Malevolent

JARIK JONGMAN: UTOPIAN SPIRIT AND HARBOURING IDEAL VISIONS OF HUMAN LIFE

A former assistant of Anselm Kiefer, Jarik Jongman (Amsterdam, 1962) uses both his own photographs and anonymous pictures found at flea markets, in books, magazines and on the internet, as a starting point for his work. He studied in Arnhem and has exhibited widely, in London, Berlin, New York, Amsterdam and at the 53rd (2009) and 54th (2011) Venice Biennale in collateral events.

In his work over the years he has explored ideas concerning transience, ontology, religion and history. Many of these works involve architecture in some form: motel rooms, waiting rooms, dilapidated buildings, usually devoid of human presence, often provoking feelings of nostalgia and contemplation, sometimes adding a hint of the miraculous or super-natural.

Jarik Jongman introduces waiting rooms, data centers and film sets as a stage for ideas about reality and human behaviour in the ‘post truth’ society. More than ever, ‘truth’ seems to have become a fluid concept. Furthermore, the paradoxical situation has arisen, wherein the abundance of information available is merely contributing to our insecurity. In his current work the artist constructs new, imaginary visual spaces, departing from personal memories and associations and found imagery from newspapers, magazines and the internet.

Socio-economic pressure, immigration, the refugee crisis, international terrorism and climate issues are causing anxiety on a global scale. Underlying the feelings of dread and lack of control that these issues provoke has been the emergence of our post-truth society, which the current U.S president embodies like no other.

"I have taken modernism, or more specifically, modernist architecture, as a departing point for the idea that it used to represent a utopian spirit, harbouring ideal visions of human life and society and a belief in progress. In my work however, I try to convey a sense of pending doom. These iconic and symbolic buildings and villas I portray as sublime, transcendental structures, both coveted and threatened by inscrutable and ominous forces."

A waiting room is a room where time or life, seem suspended. We are temporarily put in a situation where we cannot act. And we do not have to. It is not expected of us. It offers a moment for contemplation, with responsibility temporarily lifted. We like to think that we make choices in life, decisions made by our free will. But perhaps our sense of control is an illusion. Ultimately there is the fear, the realisation even, that everything is pointless, that all is in vain. What if waiting is in fact all we are capable of?

"My ongoing series of paintings entitled ‘Phenomena’ depicts motel rooms with ghostly clouds or flashes of mysterious light. These spaces allude to the transience of existence. They could be viewed as an allegory of the temporary dwelling place, both for man in his individual life and as a species in this universe, in which we are 'merely' a brief flash of light. Moreover, they raise questions about the nature and reality of this existence. Ultimately, to paraphrase Werner Heisenberg: “What we observe is not reality itself but reality exposed to our method of questioning”.

Jarik Jongman

In other news, Rick Owens Fall 2021 Men's. “I’m always conscious of my own aggression. And the older that I get, I feel like I should have reached a level of serenity that I just haven’t; I get impatient, I get itchy, I snap at people sometimes… Aggression is something that I’m fascinated with because I’m constantly conscious of wrestling with it, personally. And I think that that’s true of every man.”

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