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#23

Jeroen Jacobs was born in Helmond, Holland, 1968.
He studied at the Academy for Art and Design, 's-Hertogenbosch, 1988-92
and de Ateliers, Amsterdam, Holland, 1993-95
He lives and works in Berlin.

Five sculptures in concrete made over 2005 and 2006 are configured seperately and amongst cut sheets of bare and mirrored chipboard across the gallery floor.


A discussion between Robert Filby and Jeroen Jacobs at Outpost 1st August 2006.

Robert Filby: Dag Jeroen. I remember pieces from the studio trip we made to Berlin as more reductive perhaps - that more closely resembled an object itself, a table, or tomb, or hedge. So when I see a flat surface here, as in Tupelo, I understand it as a step or sill; if a sculpture has a slight hollow in it I read it as a bird bath, ashtray, or public convenience. Definitely with the employment of concrete there is a relationship to public art commissioning; objects that are also asked to serve in some utilitarian way. I guess these are not central concerns, but there seems to be a jokey cynicism within the work along these lines. What do you think?

Jeroen Jacobs: They are interesting thoughts. But I have a lot fun by making this works and not relating to much at all. I have been doing a lot of installative works before I started with these concrete sculptures, using domestic situations and relying on use of them and see how any kind of use by the public could make sense in a artistic context as in a gallery space. In this process I kind of translated the sculptural artistic process in a romantic lonely do it yourself way of manufacture these garage doors, air plane wings, stairs etc. Later I felt unsatisfied with hiding the sculptor in some kind of attitude and started to make part of the process more studio based again. I have the feeling that I smashed the process of making art in to many pieces, and in a show they all get together again as before the show was always one piece from the beginning. So the small works are maybe demonstrative of a very closed process of searches for shape and structure.

RF: Do you think there is a relationship to the work of Fischli and Weiss? You talked about the melancholic remaking of industry products, that they also did quite comprehensively with a polyfoam material in 'Room Under the Staircase' for example, where artistry and labour are hidden. That use of one 'everyman' material to span a very broad subject area; also with 'Suddenly This Overview' using unfired clay to relate world historical and modern events, but in that case the artist's hand is more evident. I suppose I would think of Rebecca Warren's work also with that reliance on one material to do what you want - maybe that's something that aids you in staying in the world of the studio?

JJ: I don't know Rebecca Warren's work but to F/W I feel kind of related. Their way of speaking is very light and ironic, using different models to open and show the process of making art for example by amateur like claying course sculpturing etc. or the series of holiday like slides everybody makes. I try to avoid these analogue working processes and try to see what there is when you just leave every reference.

RF: So on a more spartan level I would still think about Gestalt theory, with the illustrated negative space, and figure and ground relationships. Certainly there is a definite activation of the floor plane within the gallery. I realize that your starting points of say, a bucket and a board are soon abstracted, and work becomes itself or anything but the bucket and board, and is suddenly only a formal concern. But by using an aerated material like concrete there is a cartoon element to the sculpture that acknowledges it is a representation of a gap. So they always point back toward their starting points, maybe with disregard? There is a level of self conciousness with the spills within the work about your responsibility for having made these 'lumpen' museum pieces. I wonder how authentic is the formal consideration? I mean, how committed or straight are you about scale for instance, or do you have enough of an eye on yourself to find the idea of making 'shapes' funny enough?

JJ: I think it doesn't make sense to call it museum pieces on a point that everything is being showed in museums. I think that there is a new kind of academism like video, installations, photography which is all is very respected. So on this matter I don't think I have to worry about making pieces that have the size of a sculpture which you expect on a pedestal in a comic book figuring as an art piece. It is kind of strange that for example in painting nobody worries about the fact that is just a piece. To come back to the analogue working models, I was saying that I try to avoid this although it is a very important reference for me. I think that I just want to turn this process around again and not act the handyman but just the artist. It doesn't take away the irony and it is also a serious stage again. Dealing with shape is very funny and I think that in time that bringing the formal aspects to a point, there where intentions of cleaning up and trying to speak a universal language. I like the open and experimental atmosphere of this period, for me today it means just a way of speaking and dealing with things and that it also has a strong tension of isolation. Another distance to the issues brings a certain freedom to it making it and looking at it.

RF: Dank je wel.

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