Nick Jensen's solo show Formerly is currently on at Twelve Around One gallery, 33a Shacklewell Street,
London E2. Jensen's been working on the show for the past year or so, and it's only on until Sunday, Oct 14th. So if you're in London between now and then, go have a look. We asked Jensen a few things about the show, and there's the press release below to give you an idea.
Twelve Around One is a gallery you’re running at your flat in Bethnal Green, right?
Yeah man, my friend and I decided to go for it and convert the flat into a gallery. It naturally lends itself to being a gallery as it used to be a photographic studio, .
How does that work? Do you employ someone to sit there and let people in, or is it by appointment only, or what?
I sit here!!!! Yeah, it's cool though, as its my flat. But we do intense 10 day shows, so I sit here for a week and get an intern to cover a couple of days.
How do your flatmates feel about it?
They are all really supportive, thanks guys!
What about when you get collectors and curators come visit for example. What do they think about the fact that it’s your home?
Most of them don't know it's in a flat. It does look like a West End gallery in many ways. But when the dog pokes his head around the door it tends to shatter the illusion.
Does Twelve Around One get listed in the Guide or Time Out and things like that?
Yeah we have been in Time Out and Dazed a few times.
So the work then. You've re-framed details of classic paintings and repainted the details?
Yeah well, I like the idea of translation, so what interests me about restating these historical examples, is how much is transferred and changed in the new versions. But i like to take the subject out of the original, merely reducing the image to it's material presence.
Would you say you start with an idea, or do you start painting first and the ideas evolve from the process?
I kinda wanted to explore one central idea within the show, each wall contains a different installation, which are essentially fractured elements from historical examples.
Do you think about the things that the press release is talking about while you’re creating the work? Or is it more along the lines of you do what you do and then it’s up to a critic to define what they think is going on in the work?
The critic is my friend, so we have a close working relationship and generally tailor the press release to the work once it is in the final stages.
I remember you saying when you were at St Martin’s and filming for Fully Flared years ago that you can’t be good at both art and skateboarding at the same time. Do you still feel that way?
In a way yeah. I mean both require a lot of time, I have just become better at multitasking. You have to in this day and age.
How do you divide your time between the two these days? The typical day question.
For the last month, the typical day was to wake up at 8:30, go to the studio, paint till 9pm and skate on the weekend, and a few breaks here and there in the day. Now it's skate 3 chunks in the week and one, sometimes tow, days on the weekend. I am up for driving to Playstation now it's darker earlier and I often work in the day.
Do you ever feel that being a professional skateboarder could be baggage that you carry with you into the art world? I’ve noticed that your name doesn’t typically pop up in the “skate art" context, so it must be a choice you've made?
I mean its a lot harder for me to get noticed as an artists than a skateboarder. I like to keep it separate, because I don't think skateboarding deserves to get dragged into my art work and then force fed onto the audience.
If there’s an upside down miniramp displayed in the Gagosian gallery, how does that make you feel?
Not bad, I don't mind that skateboarding and art cross over. It's just not what I am interested in making, only because I don't know how to do it well. It's good for art culture to engage with skateboarding.
Things like this divide people, where some feel that anything skateboarding in museums and galleries is sick and others feel it would be best kept out. Do you have an opinion on that?
I think it's good because even if it exists within that more mainstream art culture context, it generally means that people are turning heads which can help to motivate more momentum in terms of creating more skateparks and just altering the general attitude towards preconceived notions of the archetypal, antisocial characteristics of a skateboarder. And if you hate on it then turn away from it, at least its not the x games.
Within the last year, which two art shows have really moved you?
Remainder curated by Alex Ross at Hillary Crisp. Just really well balanced and a subtly powerful lesson about curating was learned by me. And I am going tomorrow but I reckon Daniel Sinsel at Sadie Coles, as I really like his work!
Two video parts that have inspired you?
Pappalardo in Mosaic, just the way he skates outside of what other people do, his mysterious and sensitive image, and his gnarliness.
Austyn Gillette's Quiksilver thing, clever marriage of high quality filming and pure street skating. Shame about the song though.
Twelve Around One press release for Formerly
6th - 14th October 2012
Twelve Around One is pleased to present the first solo exhibition by artist and curator Nick Jensen.
The works in this exhibition can as easily be viewed in terms of the space of improvisation, as well as more literally as a reworking, translation and mediation of past artworks and their material propositions. Within the titles to the works lie cues, which hint at the various contexts from where the work springs, as well as reflecting Jensen’s specific approach to titles themselves. Jensen’s paintings which take as their starting point historic portraits which he recreates removing the painting’s subject, resulting in the sitters clothing falling into a heap at the base of the image or slipping from the frame entirely, as if the painting’s subject had quite literally stepped out of them. To render it in this way is to strip the original work of it’s purpose and intention, the absent figure is given it’s dimension by the comparison established with the original, which is achieved through the otherwise faithful replication of all other elements within the work, creating an awkward uneasy tension with the resulting clear expanse of wall, the voided space, now visible behind the position once occupied by the sitter which equally exposes life’s relative frailty in relation to the duration of works of art. The process also has the effect of transforming the work from it’s original state as a figurative piece into an oblique abstract echo of its former self.
Jensen achieves this by distinguishing the parts and elements of the paintings he references from themselves. Aspects of the paintings he references are drawn out and extended into the gallery as sculptures, exceeding the frame, and exceeding the space of their prior encounter, where seeing behind the mask is a form of seeing the space within the mask.
There is a parity established in this formal arrangement between the reductive impression of the reworked originals, whose allusion to subect promts the illusion of object, and the extraction of form which serves to notify its presense.
Between the various sets of paintings and sculptures, and hung throughout the space, are sets of marble pegs. Sculptural forms only visible in the absense of anything hanging on them. Their redundant gesture hold the potential for support, as both a prop for object or subject, for canvas and stretcher, or for the sunken mass of the absent sitters’ clothing.
For further information, please contact the gallery on:
T: +44 (0) 7951230563
TWELVE AROUND ONE | 33a Shacklewell Street, London E2 7EG