Jan Esmann (DK)

Jan Esmann studied art restoration at The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, and the impact of his traditional art education on his works is obvious – emphasis on the skill and technique, high attention to fine details, and use figurative elements. And yet, the way he treats the “humans” in his paintings is anything but traditional. Figures on canvas have a strange duality. On one hand they are treated as mere objects, often multiplied, being only a part of the bizarre and surreal landscape. On the other hand though, their faces are very expressive, bursting with emotions. Esmann himself is a very spiritual man and has extensively studied meditation, and, indeed, the figures on his paintings often appear to be in a state of a meditative bliss. This combination of objectification and sentiment conjures up a strange picture of a detached humanity.

The artist himself says that although his works are figurative, he sees them as abstract; as a new approach to abstract painting. To quote one of his earlier interviews: “[…] it is a sad misunderstanding that figurative elements in a painting are necessarily representational […].To me it is nothing but an element added to the other elements of colour, form and light […]“  (ZmartArt, 1999)

“Contemporary art, especially painting, has turned towards a renewed interest in the craft of figurative art. Contemporary art is of course no longer modernist art, but postmodernist art, and as such a renewed interest in the lost craft of figurative painting that modernism killed off, is only natural, though it is also a very elitist trend within otherwise self-conceited postmodernism. So we are happy to consider ourselves anti-postmodernists. As contemporary anti-postmodern artists we have to reinvent old painting skills in a new form of figure painting. Only this way can we move art beyond the pseudo-intellectual amateurisms of postmodernism.”  

Jan Esmann

EDUCATION

1989-1991
The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Denmark

1993
Cand. mag. in Moderne Kultur, B.Sc., Copenhagen University

1979-1982
Private classes and analysis of paintings with Danish artist Niels Hermann Wamberg

SELECTED EXHIBITIONS

2018
GALLERI V58, Aarhus, Denmark

2017
GALLERI V58, Aarhus, Denmark

2016
GALLERI V58, Aarhus, Denmark

2015
GALLERI V58, Aarhus, Denmark
Art Copenhagen, Forum Copenhagen, represented by GALLERI V58, Aarhus, Denmark

2014
GALLERI V58, Aarhus, Denmark
Galleri Knud Grothe, Charlottenlund, Denmark

2013
GALLERI V58,  Aarhus, Denmark
Skagen Odde Design, Kunst og Naturcenter, Denmark
Galleri Knud Grothe, Charlottenlund, Denmark
Galleri Gingold, Copenhagen, Denmark

2012
Galleri Brænderigården, Horsens, Denmark

2011
Galerie T-40, Düsseldorf, Germany
Carlsberg Ny Tap, Copenhagen, Denmark

2010
Rundetaarn, Copenhagen, Denmark

2008
Polka-Dot- An Art Gallery, Copenhagen, Denmark

2007
Polka-Dot- An Art Gallery, Copenhagen, Denmark

2006
Polka-Dot – An Art Gallery, Copenhagen, Denmark
Gallerihuset, Copenhagen, Denmark

2005
Gallerihuset, Copenhagen, Denmark

2004
Gallerihuset, Copenhagen, Denmark

2003
The More Gallery, USA
Gallerihuset, Copenhagen, Denmark

2002
The More Gallery, USA

2001
Gallerihuset, Copenhagen, Denmark
Art Fair: Art Copenhagen, Denmark (Kunstmessen Forum)
Art Fair: Kunstmessen Herning, Denmark
10 World Artists, Noosagallery, Australia – chosen to represent Denmark

2000
Gallerihuset, Copenhagen, Denmark
Gallerie 108, Roskilde, Denmark
Art Fair: Art Copenhagen, Denmark (Kunstmessen Forum)
Art Fair: Kunstmessen Herning, Denmark
Memorial exhibition for Palle Nielsen

1999
Ikon 2000, Kunstnernes Hus, Aarhus, Denmark
Alice Lookingglass Gallery, New York, USA
Art Fair: Art Copenhagen, Denmark (Kunstmessen Forum)
Lejnieks Fine Art, California, USA

1998
Gallerihuset, Copenhagen, Denmark
Art Fair: Kunstmessen Herning, Denmark
Alice Lookingglass Gallery, New York, USA
Lejnieks Fine Art, California, USA

1994
Galleri Knud Grothe, Charlottenlund, Denmark

1993
Galleri Kobolt, Copenhagen, Denmark

1992
New Court Gallery, Copenhagen, Denmark

CENSORED EXHIBITIONS

1992
Spring exhibition, Charlottenborg, Denmark
Kunstnernes Autumn Exhibition, Copenhagen, Denmark

1991
Kunstnernes Autumn Exhibition, Copenhagen, Denmark

1990
Kunstnernes Autumn Exhibition, Copenhagen, Denmark

1987
Kunstnernes Autumn Exhibition, Copenhagen, Denmark

1986
Kunstnernes Autumn Exhibition, Copenhagen, Denmark

TEACHING POSITIONS

1996
External lecturer, Institute of Art History, Copenhagen University. Subject: The paintings technique and Maleriets teknik og terminology (from the middle age to today).

1995
Teaching assistant at The institute of Literature, Copenhagen University. Subject: The modernism’s occultism and mystery – The painters occult and mysterious access points (Theosophy, Steiner etc) for the non figurative painting.

GRANTS

1998
Theodor Alfred Christian Von Irgens-Bergh og Hustrus Art grant

LECTURES
The Crisis of Modern Art – seminar about the current crisis in art (2001)
Art and Spirituality, The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts (2000)
Art and Spirituality, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art (2000)
Seminar about modern art and religion, Inst. for Religionsvidenskab, KUA (1995)

BIBLIOGRAPHY

2014
Kundalini Tantra – Song of Liberation
2013
Enlightenment 101 – From Ignorance to Grace
The Artist’s Craft
2011
Lovebliss – The Essence of Self-Realization
2000
Modernismens astrallegeme – printed in the journal Kritik nr. 143
Jamen det ligner jo noget – Information d. 23/9
… men er det kunst? – Information d. 2/12
1998
Gud lader sig erfare – essay printed in Berlingske Tidende’s section ”Eksistens” d. 8/8
1996
Dr. Caligaris Kabinet rekonstrueret – printed in the journal K&K nr. 81
1995
Cyberpsykose – article about violence in computer games, psychological analysis of the game “Doom” – printed in Politiken 1/1
Cyberpsykose – a debate between Jan Esmann and Carsten Jessen about violence in computer games and media – printed in Tidsskrift for Børne og Ungdomskultur nr. 35
Debate about Rudolf Steiner in Weekendavisen april – maj
Rudolf Steiner og Buddhas mission på Mars – a critical presentation and a position paper of Steiner’s teachings in Dialog 61 and 62
Rabbinsk tænkning printed in the journal K&K nr. 78
Sort i sort – printed in the journal Kritik nr. 119
1994
Omkring et billede – analyse af et maleri af Rousseau – printed in the journal Kritik in June
1988
På sporet af billedets semantik – printed in Litteratur & Samfund

MEMBERSHIPS
1993 onwards
Mensa
1999-2000
The International Society of Philosophical Enquiry (ISPE)

Born 1960

Uden titel, olie på lærred, 100 x 130, d.kr. 28.000,-

Uden titel, olie på lærred, 100 x 130, d.kr. 28.000,-

Uden titel, olie på lærred, 100 x 130, d.kr. 28.000,-

Uden titel, olie på lærred, 100 x 130, 28.000,-

Uden titel, olie på lærred, 100 x 130, d.kr. 28.000,-

Uden titel, tegning-tusch, 56 x 77, uindrammet, 2015, d.kr. 5.500,-

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Uden titel, pen, tusch, forhøjet på tonet papir, uindrammet, 76 x 65, 2015, d.kr. 5.500,-

Uden titel, mixed medie, uindrammet, 77 x 56, 2009, d.kr. 4.000,-

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Uden titel, mixed medie, uindrammet, 77 x 55, 2012, d.kr. 3.500,-

Uden titel, mixed medie, uindrammet, 77 x 56, 2009, d.kr. 4.000,-

Uden titel, mixed medie, uindrammet, 77 x 55, 2012, d.kr. 3.500,-

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Uden titel, mixed medie, 70 x 56, indrammet, d.kr. 4.500,-

Uden titel, mixed medie, uindrammet, 70 x 50 cm, 2007, d.kr. 3.000,-

Uden titel, mixed medie, uindrammet, 70 x 50, 2007, d.kr. 3.000,-

Uden titel, mixed medie, uindrammet, 56 x 77, 2009, d.kr. 3.000,-

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‘Uden titel’, olie på lærred, 130 x 100, SOLGT

‘Uden titel’, olie på lærred, 100 x 130, SOLGT

‘Uden titel’, olie på lærred, 100 x 130, SOLGT

Uden titel, mixed medie, 50 x 70, 2007, SOLGT

Uden titel, mixed medie, 77 x 56, 2009, SOLGT