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Jeroen Jongeleen aka Influenza

Jeroen Jongeleen lives and works in Paris and Rotterdam. His practice evolves out of an on-going engagement with public space and much of his work is presented in the form of subtle interventions, which seem to target advertisements, architectural structures and signs that regulate public behavior. Often he creates imprints of these interventions, viruses left to engage with the body of the citizenry and disrupt status quo signification. In other cases, he leaves no trace that could place him on the radar and heaves yet another step between art and material objects, instead seeming to concentrate on the joys of failures, findings and improvement.

As artworks, these actions speak of opportunities and demonstrate an ongoing relationship between artist and subject, an examination of urban potentiality and pitfalls. It is not simply doing for doing, but doing to discover what can be done and in documenting that as a work of art, Jongeleen manages to reveal parts of his act without compromising the magic. What we see in this case is not a conceptual movement, but a personal philosophy being lived. This time there is no violent gesture. There is only the artist’s joy as he explores himself in the world.

We see this in projects like ‘City Jewels’ or ‘Plastic Bag as a Jolly Roger,’ where he works with found materials to make statements that encourage viewers to tilt their heads and see the city and its architecture from a different perspective. While his energy is an infectious as the ideas he brings forward, Jongeleen’s strengths have been his ability to make you see things differently, coupled with a long running body of work that mixes the visual vocabulary of the streets with that of formal art contexts, creating a space for radical artist production. He is the only artist I know who has been prosecuted and then exhibited and acquired by the same museum.

by Harlan Levey



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