Games are subject to rules, but the rules are not always transparent, making it hard for potentially new players to become active participants. In his show Spielregeln (Rules of the Game) at gallery KM, the artist Sebastian Jung examines the art business and his own position in relation to its unwritten rules.
The five-part series “Kunstmesse” (2018) and the floor piece “Puzzle” (2021) address an art fair and thus a location where art presents itself most conspicuously as a commodity. The gallery, always at once an exhibiting institution and a business, reveals its economic side. The artist shows the goings-on at the fair in pointed, slightly exaggerated drawings focusing on the interaction between artwork and fair visitors. The rapid drawing style reflects the mood vacillating between euphoria and exhaustion, shows difference in repetition, the staging of art as a commodity, and the self-fashioning of the audience. All this is addressed in the way the works are presented in the gallery.
Sebastian Jung’s artistic approach consists in observing and taking notes. His sketch-like impressions in the form of drawings are characterized by an activist engagement against the repercussions of spreading populism in society and politics. He also accompanied the NSU trial in Munich, the “Strukturwandel West” and the effects of the corona pandemic. His works are shaped by a subjective yet analytical view of his surroundings and the sociopolitical condition they are in, when capturing the respective environment in intuitive snapshots. The artist often initiates interdisciplinary projects in collaboration with representatives from the areas of politics, science and society. Political foundations and art institutions appreciate his approach, because as an artist he can open up perspectives that complement or even contradict their own points of view.
But when this scenario of both distanced and participant observation is applied to the relations between galleries and artists, the view becomes complicated. Can such a strategy involving the observations of a nonconformist resonate critically in the system of the art market? Isn’t he, as an artist, automatically part of the bigger picture that he seeks to analyze in his drawings?
On the occasion of the exhibition a publication (online and print) based on a think tank about the art market is published, including a foreword by Vanessa Joan Müller and statements by Catrin Lorch, Eivind Furnesvik, Hannes Schmidt, Deborah Schamoni and Alexander Koch & Nikolaus Oberhuber.
Sebastian Jung (*1987 in Jena), lives and works in Leipzig. He studied Arts and Design at Bauhaus-Universität Weimar. He participated in various group exhibitions, among them Tell me about yesterday tomorrow, NS-Dokumentationszentrum, Munich (2019), Das Labyrinth, Kunsthaus Nürnberg (2019) and Tendenzen ins Unbekannte, Kunstverein Gera (2017) as well as solo exhibitions at Neuer Kunstverein Wuppertal (2020), Münchner Stadtmuseum (2017), Neue Gesellschaft für bildende Kunst, Berlin (2016) and Jenaer Kunstverein (2015).
For the Friedrich Ebert Foundation in Thuringia he recently realised HotSpotSociety.com.
The exhibition is kindly supported by:
Neustart Kultur / Stiftung Kunstfonds