At Rosette Media, we are delighted to announce a second Singaporean exhibition from Danish-American Neo-Pop artist and contemporary art sensation Jan Larsen called Balance, which will introduce a new body of work called The Synchrony Series, and extend continuing themes in this artist’s exciting young career. Talked about as one of the next important voices in contemporary art, Larsen makes bright, bold works in multiple media that reflect on the tenor of our contemporary moment – including references to American popular culture, geometric colorfield works, meditative ‘word-works,’ interactive sculptures, compelling video work, and abstract-expressionist paintings in the traditions of Japan’s Gutai Group and America’s Jackson Pollock. We have an extract of our interview with Jan Larsen.
Rosette Media : What inspired you to come up with this form of art?
Jan: This work is a reflection of my own American experience in our developing world. There’s no single inspiration for it; the pieces and series are responses to my experience of the contemporary world, and extensions of continuing meditations I have been having for some time. One event that inspired a number of pieces was the US election of 2016, which troubles me a great deal. Another event I am responding to in the work, more-positively this time, is the emerging reality of a more-thoroughly distributed and healthier society for our world, facilitated and empowered (rather than being subverted by or ‘hacked into,’ as I think may have been the case in the past) by technology, which I think is a very good thing for people in microeconomic markets that supplement and support natural familial social structures, and for social progress in general at the macroeconomic level. With burgeoning technological and social phenomena like cloud-computing and FinTech broadening the reach of this kind of capacity-distribution in the marketplace, it’s hard to keep that progressive genie in the bottle! This, I think, is a good thing, for all of us, individually and as a whole, as we grapple with our biggest challenges as a society.
Rosette Media : Interesting. What are your main genres for expression in depicting this form of art?
Jan: I tend to work in three streams – (1) media-referential works, which are social in nature and tend to be light-hearted and tongue-in-cheek, reflecting on and playfully poking fun at marketing media (advertising), social media, and some of the ironies of our contemporary world, (2) digital and traditional-media colorfield and abstract-expressionist works, which are more meditative in nature, and expressions of my own internal emotional world, and (3) interactive sculptural works, which invite my audience to ‘play,’ participate, and become a part of the work, including my most-recent video-collaborative work, which samples, incorporates, and re-mixes publicly-available content that is a part of many of our lives. I find such media content to be rich material for reflection and meditation on our culture as a dynamic set of peoples, both individually and in groups. To these three, I have recently added a fourth genre, of meditative ‘word works,’ in which I take the same approach as my colorfield and abstract-expressionist work, meditating on notions that I find to be consistently-valid and helpful in focusing my own mind in a dynamic world characterized by constant change.
Rosette Media : Very cool. Now, may I ask: why are you showing in partnership with a boutique whisky enterprise in Robertson Quay? What is the connection there?
Jan: Prior to launching my career, for about fifteen years, I started-up and ran several galleries in New York under JLA (Jan Larsen Art) in order to learn the nuts-and-bolts or the ‘brass tacks’ of the fine art business, so to speak. So I have some experience with running art exhibitions, and in some ways, I find it more-relaxing to operate the gallery aspect of the practice with my own team, as part of my production process, as I tend to have some fairly specific opinions about how I like things to be run. In January, my team and I were looking for suitable spaces for my next show here in Singapore, and a friend-of-a-friend referred Mike Soldner, proprietor of the terrific enterprise you refer to, called the B28 Whisky Fund, headquartered in Robertson Quay. Mike, who is a terrific host, and who has since become a friend as well as a business associate, founded Singapore’s first whisky bar in 2008, then Seoul’s first whisky bar in 2012, and now he is building on his experience, market influence, and market presence in the whisky world to fund investments in whisky-as-an-asset-class, a novel approach to asset management, where investors acquire casks or shares-of-casks of whisky (or whisky manufacturing capacity itself) to acquire and produce ‘liquid assets,’ so to speak, that appreciate and perform over time. He operates the fund out of a beautiful double-wide shop house in Robertson Quay, which he renovated prior to opening for business late last year. When Mike reached out to my staff Sarah, the complement between our work seemed obvious to both of us. B28 and JLA are both high-energy, somewhat sporty and youthful, elegant lifestyle brands, and presented in the warm and elegant ‘B28 House’ in Robertson Quay, we were delighted to mount this exhibition as the beginning of an already-fruitful collaboration, making B28 the primary hub of JLA in Asia moving forward. A natural complement; and novel, indeed.
Rosette Media : Very cool. So where else is your work showing now?
Jan: I have several exhibitions running with my gallery HG Contemporary and in private clubs in New York, and I show at art fairs in London, Miami, will soon mount my first exhibition in Qatar, and in Hong Kong, for which B28 House will be my home base. It’s exciting to be able to announce that the sun now never sets on JLA. Rosette has ‘scooped’ the exclusive on that!
Rosette Media : How lovely, and exciting. Thanks for that. What is next for you here in Singapore, and world-wide?
Jan: As we settle the work in here, provide sales and service to existing clients (if any in your audience is interested in inquiring, they can do so with Sarah Giddings at email@example.com), and explore new commissions, public placements, and exhibitions to come, I travel to Doha in Qatar to have meetings with patrons about my first show there, then back to the States to (first) spend some time with family, friends, and clients near Boston, and then gear up for my Spring show in New York. As for what’s next here in Singapore, I’ve had an opportunity to visit the National Museum and reflect on some of the historic presentations there, meet with friends and producers in the area, and am reflecting on what all that means. We’ll just have to chat again in a couple months’ time, when we are ready to announce that next step. These are exciting times; and thank you for asking; it is wonderful to share these things with you and your audience. We hope and look forward to chatting with Rosette again!
Rosette: Thank you! See you again soon!