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Since the mid-1990s, Sergej Jensen (born in Copenhagen in 1971) has been offering one of the most remarkable responses to the question of what painting can still be today. Painting in the classical sense plays only a minor role: in lieu of canvas, Jensen uses jute, coarse cotton, and jeans. He incorporates spots on fabrics that turn the “expressive gesture” of his paintings into a sign of wear from real life. Jensen sews fabrics together leaving the seams visible to evoke the fleeting impression of a drawing, and he colors others with gouache, acrylics, and markers. But more often, Jensen applies materials foreign to painting, such as patches, paper money, spices, beads, and glitter. Hanging his fabrics from windows, Jensen lets the sun and rain contribute a patina and treats them with chlorine and paints mixed with bleach to reduce their brilliance.
Sergej Jensen’s paintings are always at the edge of the abyss, but they do not fall in. Their brokenness is compensated by delicate sensual gestures—their decay and dirt, by an almost decorative beauty. Jensen operates within the narrow range between authenticity and fake, between punk and pose.
With texts by Peter Eleey, Helmut Draxler, Jacob Fabricius, Rainald Goetz, Dirk von Lowtzow, Melanie Ohnemus, Susanne Pfeffer, and Heidi Zuckerman Jacobson.