Jan Schmidt


At the center of this exhibition are new, large-format works on paper. Reduced in appearance, they bear witness to the processes of their creation. They are records in the truest sense, in which time condenses in the form of traces of repeated actions. For an entire year, Jan Schmidt throws pieces of graphite onto a large sheet of paper. His records are neither ordinary notes of facts or memories, nor sketches of a visual impressions. Between concentration and distraction, they are rather to be understood as an approach to a contemplative state, which is only made possible by the casual and thousandfold repeated throwing gesture, which opens up space for thinking.

Jan Schmidt meticulously and with great perseverance explores processes and the transformation of materials that form the starting point of his artistic practice. This often results in series of works that include sculpture, installation, and video in addition to works on paper. Jan Schmidt draws our attention to the hidden potential of everyday processes and objects from our immediate surroundings, which he approaches with the precision of a natural scientist and a great deal of humility. A found limestone, two marbles, the leaves of a tree, a cordless screwdriver or graphite leads come into play, but rather indirectly and with unusual use. Jan Schmidt transfers scientific methods such as counting, ordering, measuring, and documenting into the field of art and at the same time pushes the boundaries of what is usually defines as art. The result of his experiments is not so much determined by him, but is significantly influenced by factors to which Jan Schmidt gives great leeway in his work: time and chance.

Jan Schmidt was born in Wiesbaden in 1973. He studied at the Kunsthochschule Mainz with Ansgar Nierhoff and at the Städelschule in Frankfurt am Main with Ayse Erkmen. Jan Schmidt has been awarded numerous prizes and scholarships, including the 2022 working scholarship of the Stiftung Kunstfond, the 2018 travel scholarship of the Hessische Kulturstiftung, the 2009 graphics prize of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, and the 2007 scholarship of the Cité des Arts, Paris.

Jan Schmidt’s works are in numerous public and private collections, including the Collection of the State of Hesse, the Graphic Collection of the Städel Museum, Frankfurt a.M., the Kunsthalle Mannheim, the Museum Wiesbaden, and the Kunsthalle Karlsruhe.

Solo exhibitions (selection): Museum Goch; Kunstverein Ludwigshafen; Museum Wiesbaden; Kunstverein Wiesbaden; Galerie Anita Beckers, Frankfurt; Kunstverein Konstanz; Städtische Galerie Delmenhorst with Ane Mette Hol.

Group exhibitions (selection): Museum für Konkrete Kunst, Ingolstadt; Kunsthalle Bremen; Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin; Kunstmuseum Bonn; Kunsthalle Mainz, Städel Museum, Frankfurt; Museum Haus Esters, Haus Lange, Krefeld.

Photo: Wolfgang Günzel