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  • Checking in with… Stephan Jung


Checking in with… Stephan Jung

INTERVIEW. With technically complex paintings that articulate light and colour as clearly as an LCD screen, Jung's appreciation for contemporary technology is obvious. His exhibition at Exile opens Sep 6.

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Photo by Tania Castellví

Tubes of paint and colourful palettes pepper the floor of a spacious room, the sun peeking through closed curtains. Jung stands below a hefty canvas holding an adversely petite brush, gradually setting it ablaze with prismatic patterns. “I like to touch every point on the canvas,” he explains. His colours transition so softly it’s hard to believe they aren’t airbrushed. With technically complex paintings that articulate light and colour as clearly as an LCD screen, Jung’s appreciation for contemporary technology is obvious, despite his devotion to paint and canvas. On Sep 6, the self-effacing pioneer of Berlin’s fertile post-Wall art scene returns to the city’s exhibition arena with new show […] at Exile Gallery.

This is your first Berlin exhibition in five years.

Pauses are important. Works become stronger as artists age and find freedom to change attitude, reconsider and reinvent. Nothing is final, and we are always changing. For me, having a family changed my life.

How have you seen Berlin change?

Nowadays, art needs money. There are fewer empty streets, places for opportunity. If you’re not privileged, it’s hard. That was the best thing about Berlin back then, because all you needed was a lust for life. Young people today must enter a preordained structure. Without support, it can’t work anymore for these intelligent, young people who don’t necessarily have an opportunity to study and create. However, the mind is flexible and this generation has developed a mind for the situation.

Where do you get ideas?

New ideas come every day, all the time. However they always have a new context. It is important to focus my attention to 90 or 100 percent, and ideas come from qualities of the space.

What story do your pictures tell?

I have my story, my existence, but my pictures don’t tell a story. They don’t intend to illustrate, but have everything to do with colours and light on a basic level. I cannot separate the works from one another, and that is something that cannot be helped.

How do you find your style?

It’s important to trust myself. Everyone has fear and feelings of self-doubt, but I must be able to relax enough to leave that to the wayside. I’m not always totally confident, but I must let loose enough to see what comes. If something doesn’t work, I stare at it for a long time in order to learn something. Life experience always lies inside what is created, and every picture is an expression of who I am.

STEPHAN JUNG – […] Sep 6-Oct 5 | Exile Gallery, Skalitzer Str. 104 Hinterhof, U-Bhf Görlitzer Bhf, Thu- Sat 12-18