The exhibition concludes on Saturday 4 July 2020
Following his successful solo show during last year’s Summer Marathon (in which 7 artists presented week-long solo shows over the summer), German artist Jan Sebastian Koch returns to the gallery with his first full-length exhibition, titled If Mountains Could Sing. The exhibition takes inspiration from his adopted home of Norway, Icelandic music, and the “silence and calmness in Northern Norway” where the artist states that the landscape sees few people and hears “hardly any sound apart from the wind through the landscape”. Looking at his serene, ethereal colour-field paintings, it is easy to imagine shifting polar landscapes, melting ice-caps, or the first sprig of flora awakening through the melted snow.
In this regard, there is a type of poeticism or spiritualism that surfaces throughout the works. Koch states that working in such solitude and with such focus has introduced him to a sense of “profound humility, a whole new connection to nature and, happiness” – a sort of internal purification that comes through the cleansing air and crystalline blue skies.
Upon asking Koch to elaborate on his recent work and techniques, he replied with a list of pigments – it reads like a small poem and is included here in its entirety.
Han blue, which is very rare
and bright, bright French ochre
One cannot help but feel the monumental and sublime power before Koch’s work, which perhaps best suggests their link to nature, human state of being, and our own sense of self-worth and the beauty both in the external landscape and the spiritual inward forces that compel us from day to day.