Artist: Jan Kiefer
Exhibition title: †
Venue: Oreilles Internaxionales, Basel, Switzerland
Date: August 12 – September 11, 2021
Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artist and Oreilles Internaxionales, Basel
Symbols are empty forms filled with stories. For a symbol to apply itself in our collective knowledge, it has to impose its agency through repetition. The cross, originally being a sacrificial tool, has been repeatedly represented and accordingly crystallized itself into a belief system that made its way through the last two millenniums.
Jan Kiefer makes a comment about the way we are still nourishing the narrative around the cross. A symbol of christianity, that characterizes the german culture he grew up surrounded by in the Mosel wine region. An omnipresent symbolic that he reflects through his striking motives and patterns, bold colours and playful concept art. Being an atheist, JK wants his works to remind the spectator that the truth, as taught by the main institutions since they exist, is wider than teachable, implies the paradox of human subjec-tivity and ends up contradicting itself. For their dogma give birth, within the resistance to it, for example, to the antichrist.
If christianity fixed its milestones, truth is dynamic. The everyday life builds itself up, or down, or stays in the same narrative.
The truths religions taught for millenniums about light and darkness are evolving way slower than our inner true rollercoasters, but the respective dogmas and institutions are still shaping us, since our childhood, to include and apply them onto our daily lives.
The obsession towards progress, productivity and efficiency also comes from there. For the christian truth to become true, everyone should learn to regulate the ups and downs of life to make it only up or neutral. Negative states of mind and body ignored.
Grapes have been cultivated for more than 6000 years. They were part of the very modern market trade of the romans and are still a common symbol of faith today. Merged in the black-white dichotomy, wine is both liberation from worries and duties, and the exhilarati-on of losing oneself in god. The ignorance making the supremacy possible.
The artist draw from the graphic design and art history to allow his paintings to refer directly to those things we all know, without artifice, to refresh their absurd anachronism in our perception and for them to restore the harmony of a diversity of zeitgeists.
-Melissa Absarah Torres