Victims and Victors – Marcus Jansen

Gestural painter Marcus Jansen reflects on the complexities of being.

Marcus Jansen, Horse, 2021
Address
Grosvenor Hill
London
W1K 3JH
United Kingdom

Date
Jan 13 - Feb 20
00:00

Location
Almine Rech


Informed by his military background, Marcus Jansen’s paintings employ the symbolic frame of historic military dress or familiar war images as canvases within canvases. The interior story in some cases describe the effect of war physically and mentally on what we might see as distant archetypes, the soldier, the leader, the hero. Parts of these figures in his paintings are incomplete or completed in ways that describe a variety of composite life experiences, graffiti, maps, classic military portraits, and something unknowable. A common thread to Jansen’s work is the obscured faces of the characters perhaps a statement on the artist’s experiences of a being a ‘soldier’ returning home to a society that either expects a seamless transformation into a ‘worker’ or within a safe category of ‘victim or victor’. A process that in many cases glosses individual experience in suppressed or conformist terms. Jansen’s melange of painting styles create complex narrative worlds, where recognisable things disintegrate into washes of colours, gestural brushwork or subtle mysteries of shadow and light. As viewers we are asked to question the familiar in what we see, familiarity without understanding in art and life coming across as shorthand for detachment or dismissal. The success of his paintings is in drawing us into the dialogue of what familiar symbols tell us with their silence, and what they bury.

Marcus Jansen, Untitled, 2021

Marcus Jansen, Untitled, 2021

Marcus Jansen, Soldier with PTSD, 2021

Marcus Jansen, Soldier with PTSD, 2021


Marcus Jansen, Phone Tapping in 1929, 2021

Marcus Jansen, Phone Tapping in 1929, 2021


Marcus Jansen, Creative Genius, 2021

Marcus Jansen, Creative Genius, 2021


Marcus Jansen, After Hurricane, 2021

Marcus Jansen, After Hurricane, 2021


Marcus Jansen, A Confident Wounded Warrior, 2021

Marcus Jansen, A Confident Wounded Warrior, 2021

Press info
Following on from ‘Power Structures,’ Jansen’s previous solo exhibition at Almine Rech Paris in Spring 2021, this next exhibition in London presents a new chapter. The artist’s surreal and abstract paintings continue to document the human condition critically, socially and politically, with colourful and expressive brushwork that draws the viewer into a reflection upon our history and presents – through the victim’s perspective. Scattered with recognisable symbols and iconography, the works nevertheless pause before the point of dictating any particular narrative. Instead, they enforce an invitation to engage in a complex puzzle of emotive visual anchors. Jansen’s powerful, socially charged paintings are influenced by the two opposite worlds in which he grew up – responding to his experience of growing up in the Bronx and Queens (New York) in the 1970s, in stark contrast to his adolescent years in Monchengladbach, Germany. This unique perspective is further borne out of his eight-year service in the US military, where he gained first-hand experience of some of the most devastating and crucial events of the 20th Century. Jansen’s unique oeuvre therefore serves as an emotive and refreshing insightful critique of the contemporary American and global political and sociological landscape. It is through the vocabulary of painting that he channels these individual and shared thoughts, emotions and fears.

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