Christian Jankowski

Christian Jankowski

The Day We Met

December 2004

Curated by Tobias Berger and Tessa Giblin

Christian Jankowski's artworks intersect art and life. Jankowski infiltrates systems of communication such as telemarketing, talkback, documentary and in this case karaoke, using these systems to not only make work, but also enliven the medium itself. Philipp Kaiser writes:

" His tactic of writing himself into a commercial media format reveals an artistic strategy that is important for most of his work: as in the avant-garde, art and life are not brought together by life extending art, but conversely, art attempts, masked or unmasked, to locate itself within the mass media spectacle." ('Christian Jankowski: Dramensatz' 2003)

One of Jankowski's early works was The Hunt (1992), in which he hunted his food for a week by shooting his 'prey' with a bow and arrow off the supermarket shelves. Most of his works are art(world) - critical performances that play with the different jobs and tasks of the modern world. In The Matrix Effect series (2000), small children quote famous artists in front of their pictures, slipping in and out of character, suggesting that the role of the artist is akin to theatrical role-playing. In Telemistica (1999), a video records his on-air telephone sessions with a tarot card readers on call-in TV shows in Italy - Christian asks the fortune tellers questions about his participation at the upcoming Venice Biennial, the venue for the work… ("Will the audience like my work", " will it be successful"). Ultimately, this is the work which is shown in Venice. Christian includes all kinds of professional and amateur player in his works, recruiting actors sometimes through an advertisement in the paper or the yellow pages, and at other times working with specialist professionals.

Christian Jankowski                                                       Christian Jankowski

At ARTSPACE, Jankowski exhibits The Day We Met, a Karaoke installation produced in Korea - a country obsessed with Karaoke. The installation is ready to use by exhibition visitors, who can sing the different songs on offer. It consists of four video clips that were produced in collaboration with the artist and the biggest Karaoke Company in Korea, Taijin Media. Jankowski invited the company to place him within a series of narratives as central protagonist of the video clips that underlie the lyrics. In exchange he produced Taijin's videos and allowed the company to use them freely for their commercial interest. Via mass distribution, the same piece is in thousands of karaoke bars throughout Asia and the United States at the same time. The Day We Met is Christian Jankowski's first work to interactively involve the audience. Far away from keen ears in the ARTSPACE office, gallery visitors can croon and sway, or relax on the couch, against the backdrop of this (there's no other way to put it) drop-dead gorgeous hunk of good looking.

With thanks to SCAPE, Art and Industry Urban Arts Biennial 04, which brought Christian Jankowski to NZ to participate in Work It.

Berlin based artist, Christian Jankowski was born in 1968 in Gottingen, Germany. Schooled at the Academy of Fine Arts, Hamburg, Jankowski gained international recognition in the 48th Venice Biennale curated by Harald Szeemann in 1999. His work has been featured in solo exhibitions throughout Europe including De Appel, Amsterdam, Netherlands (2000); Kolnishcher Kunstverein, Cologne, Germany (1999); Goethe Institute, Paris, France (1999); H. M. Klosterfelde, Hamburg, Germany (1998); Portikus, Frankfurt, Germany (1998); and Art Node, Stockholm, Sweden (1997). Group exhibitions include the 2nd Berlin Biennale, Germany (2001); The National Gallery Prize, Hamburger Bahnhof--Museum der Gegenwart, Berlin, Germany (2000); Crash, ICA, London, England (1999); German Open 1999, Gegenwartskunst in Deutschland, Kunstmuseum, Wolfsburg, Germany (1999); l'autre, Biennale de Lyon, France; and the Whitney Biennial, New York (2002).