With his impressive exhibition 'Mouthpiece', Paul Jacobsen asks himself as well as us: “What is nature? What is natural? What is human? And what does it mean to be human? What looks like a children's playground with a bow and arrow, wooden hut, sauce pan and shoe turns out to be a quite ingenious concept.
'Mouthpiece' is already the second solo exhibition by the young artist Paul Jacobsen at the Gasser Grunert Gallery – much to the delight of Klemens Gasser and Tanja Grunert.
The press release states: ‘By definition, the word “art” suggests human workmanship - the very opposite of nature’s workmanship. Within this framework, the vision behind traditional landscape painting’s efforts to depict the sublime is a thinly veiled human construct with a dark sub-narrative of western colonial expansion that accompanied the mastery (and depiction) of nature.
Jacobsen rails against this constructed separation between humans and the notion of nature as other. His new work takes the form of lushly painted but unfinished vignettes of pristine landscapes, an artisan wood cabin doubling as camera obscura and a portrait of his mother pregnant with the artist.
As the natural world loses acreage and is replaced by nostalgic simulations, so diminishes our ability to distinguish mediated experience from reality. In Jacobsen’s paintings, the sections of raw linen and quickly painted gesso stand in sharp relief to the highly finished sections of painted greenery.
The romantic vision of nature ends abruptly within each painting but the artist then reintroduces elements harvested from the environment affixing wood beams to the paintings’ edges as armatures and frames. Represented nature and totems from nature are collapsed in this revisionary take on landscape painting, and questions our perception of what is natural.’
Well, as we said – a quiet intricate concept indeed. But even without prior knowledge and deeper pondering – the scenery tends to put you under its spell. Here is a small example: If you enter the hut (shown here on GoSee) and close the door, the door becomes a Camera Obscura and reflects the flag that adorns the wall into the hut – right onto the portraits of American serial killers.
Whereas the flag is projected upside down. Not a big deal to the average European Joe but a matter of utter discontent for every good and law-abiding US-patriot.
Paul Jacobsen was born in 1976 in Denver, Colorado and lives and works in Brooklyn. His works were exhibited at the Mass MOCA, Aspen Art Museum, Anderson Ranch Arts Center, Kentler International Drawing Space and many more.
Mouthpiece by Paul Jacobsen
until December 23, 2011