SPA(sibo) - Jan Zöller’s first solo exhibition in Russia - addresses the traditional Russian sauna: Banja, a place of physical relaxation and a place for social exchange and communication. Zöller presents a series of new paintings and an installation that have been produced during the past weeks of Zöller’s first visit to Russia making them highly situativ in its immediate reflection of his impressions and experiences of the local scene of Moscow.
Jan Zöller’s body of work include paintings, sculptures and installations, which are cluttered up with symbols and codes in an – at first glance – surreal composition, making them comprehensible with time and a deep gaze. His graphical compositions of color and figures construct a flat world, in which symbols of fire, water and wind reappear as elements of Zöllers playful narratives. Birds, fountains and campfires emerge as metaphors of the circuits of freedom and dependency. "I like to dream, that I think that I dream, that a dream will always be a dream." says Jan Zöller about his practice.
Zöllers choice of materials in painting range from acrylic paint, oil-based pencils to charcoal – creating intelligent commentary of painting today. His paintings for SPA(sibo) are accompanied by a sight specific installation of four towels, used and worn by himself in different Banjas adding performative elements to the show.
The exhibition title’s gives already a hint to Jan Zöller’s sense of humor and irony, revealing his own way of dealing with an ever more complex, globalized and commercialized art world. Zöllers paintings as joyful as seem at first sight speak of failure, loneliness, comedy and an attempt to create social intimacy. The reoccurring motive of the fountain in his paintings stands for a communal place, the circulation of vital energy, human and economic relations. Yet this circulation is interrupted, broken. Zöllers paintings are full of references to the failure of modernistic utopia and the German postwar modernity, ultimately of the collapse of turbo-capitalism. As the anarchistic birds in his art are occupying fountains, bathrooms and saunas to co-opt them as new place for their community, in a similar way does Zöller uses the broken system of the art world in his paintings to recreate the foundation for new utopia.
Jan Zöller is a German artist who lives and works in Karlsruhe, Germany. He is represented by Galerie Robert Grunenberg Berlin and Galerie Meyer Riegger.