Rat Hole Gallery is pleased to present a solo exhibition of work by Sergej Jensen on view from April 22 until June 19, 2016. Featuring a suite of new paintings, the exhibition marks the first time for the artist’s work to be shown in Japan.
Sergej Jensen (Danish, b.1973, lives and works in New York) is known for his works constructed from a wide range of found textiles such as linens, silks, cashmeres, burlaps, wools and canvases. His practice involves sewing, bleaching, stretching and staining the materials with natural dyes, gouache and acrylic, to create minimalist compositions that oscillate between abstraction and representation. Roughly cut strips of fabric, as well as off-cuts from previous works, are applied as if in the form of brushstrokes and the gesture of painting. Paint, when used, is applied only subtly, sparingly, in subdued tones, and at times from behind the canvas.
Jensen’s muted palette and gestural mark-making- whether stitched, bleached, or painted- emphasize both the negative space and delineated forms simultaneously within his visual compositions. Moreover, he draws attention to the incidental details of his materials, such as flecks of wool or frayed edges and other traces of wear, while also transforming leftovers from past projects into new works as a gesture of self-reflexivity. Using principles of the readymade and combining the purposeful with the accidental, Jensen's paintings engage with an aesthetic of removal and withdrawal, while consistently revealing physical traces of their making.
Also among the works on view is a painting from the artist’s “Money Bag” series in which he sews together cloth bank bags from federal and municipal banks in Europe and the USA into simple, grid-like compositions that take on the formal properties of geometric abstraction. In another work, Jensen has employed a figurative style, with representational imagery taken from classical painting suggestive of Renaissance, Romantic or proto-Modernist sources, and with textures resembling the layering of tempera or fresco painting. Similar to his sewn and dyed abstractions that seemingly adopt a tradition of “high painting” but negate its conventions, Jensen’s figurative work also appears to refer to the history of classic representational painting but combine motifs and sources in unconventional ways.
In addition to his studio art practice, the production of his own music, films and collaborative performances bears a large an influence over Jensen’s work. He has been the subject of several solo exhibitions including MoMA PS1 (2011); Portikus, Frankfurt (2010); Aspen Art Museum (2010); Kunstwerke, Berlin (2009); Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich (2008); and Kunsthalle Bergen, Norway (2008), and has participated in a number of major group exhibitions around the world, including the Sao Paulo Biennale (2004), Berlin Biennale (2006), and Whitney Biennale (2006). His work is held in several museum collections including the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Tate Modern, London; the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; and the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris.