Jan Wattjes (1981, The Hague) work consists of paintings, drawings and video’s often combined in achitectural or sculptural installations, referring to the process of painting, painters and their artistic environment. His exploration of the history of painting in combination with his own experiences has resulted in series like The Artist’s Studio, I as Painter, My artistic Family and The Mobile Studio.
Jan Wattjes (1981, The Hague, the Netherlands) work consists of paintings, drawings and video’s often combined in achitectural or sculptural installations, referring to the process of painting, painters and their artistic environment. His exploration of the history of painting in combination with his own experiences has resulted in series like The Artist’s Studio, I as Painter, My artistic Family and The Mobile Studio.
Jan Wattjes received his Bachelor Degree from The Royal Academy of Fine Arts in The Hague and will graduate this year from FMI Masters in Groningen, the Netherlands. He was awarded the Buning Brongers Prijs 2010 at Arti et Amicitiae, Amsterdam and was nominated in 2008 for the Royal awards for painting at GEM Museum, The Hague.
Livingstone gallery represents the artist since his first solo show in 2009. In 2010 he was presented at the Playstation of Fons Welters Gallery Amsterdam.
In 2007 the artist changed his name into Wattjes, which could be seen as a turning point in his line of thinking, for from this moment on, Wattjes realized that as an artist, he could take on different roles similar to the way actors do this. The famous line from the French poet Arthur Rimbaud ‘Je est un autre’ (I is another) established this idea even more. In his installation I as Painter, Wattjes displays some of the different identities that exist within his artistic practice. In this installation paintings engage in a dialogue with shortcut films where an imitation of the ‘King of Pop’ Michael Jackson shows up repeatedly. At the heart of the project lies the wish to honor his masters, ancestors and every other person who has been a significant influence for Wattjes and his field of painting. In line with this lies Wattjes believe, or rather disbelief, in imagining a painting as he states: “ I don’t know the art of painting if I have never seen a painting”. To Wattjes paintings are impulses, fleeting thoughts. This is also made visible in the presentation of the works. He does not show the paintings in the traditional manner but instead he installs them on a wooden shelve close to the floor, with the works sometimes slightly overlapping each other. his adds to a playful way of sharing the work and aspects of the creative process.
The artist’s studio itself forms an important source for the work. This can be traced back to Wattjes’s earliest years in life, which were spent in his father’s studio. A living within a workshop, which allowed Wattjes to see early on that a studio can be so much more then merely a place where the Artist produces Works. The ‘mental studio’ is translated by Wattjes into The Mobile Studio through which he shows that he sees himself as a wandering studio within his own mind. There he finds his interests and fascinations, which he then uses for his paintings. It is his personal experience accompanied by the rich history of painting that sets him to continue and explore his field of work. Wattjes portrays persons that have been of importance to him. His group portraits show characters that Wattjes has created by himself alongside existing figures: Rimbaud, his father, Herman Brusselmans, the Moroccan, The Secret Painter, Sid Vicious, The Snowman and The Artful Dodger. In a way they all embody the ‘romantic artist’. More specifically the Moroccan symbolizes a childhood memory: the children next door with whom he played soccer on the street; The Snowman functions more as a guide within his work. The Secret Painter at his turn is the painter who distances himself from the intellectual discussions concerning contemporary art and continues to paint in seclusion, in an autistic manner. The Artful Dodger, to conclude, is a figure known from the story of Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens originated in the Victorian era that relates to the typology of the dandy. Similar to James Ensor, Wattjes plays with words in relation to the images. The Artful Dodger is named The Art Full Dodger by which the figure becomes to symbolize a figure that fully evacuees or deceives art. In this, the Art Full Dodger is strongly related to the Secret Painter.
2008-2010 MFA Painting, Frank Mohr Instituut, Groningen
2004-2008 BA Fine Arts, Royal Academy of Fine Arts, The Hague
2011 Koninklijke Prijs voor Vrije Schilderkunst, Koninklijk Paleis op de dam, Amsterdam
2011 Project Room: Hugo Tieleman en Jan Wattjes, Livingstone Gallery, Den Haag
2011 Panoramaal, Stichting Ruimtevaart, Den Haag
2011 Art Amsterdam, Livingstone Gallery, Amsterdam
2011 Pulse New York, Livingstone Gallery, New York City
2011 My Artistic Family, Livingstone Gallery, Den Haag (solo)
2010 Im Walde, Stichting Ruimtevaart, Den Haag
2010 Buning Brongers prijzen 2010, Arti et Amicitiae, Amsterdam
2010 We like 6%, Nieuw Dakota, Amsterdam
2010 Interrupted Landscapes, The Champion Gallery, Austin Texas
2010 Vier Positionen der MFA Painting, Burg Kniphausen, Wilhelmshaven
2010 Rock, Paper, Scissors, Livingstone Gallery, Den Haag
2010 Art Amsterdam, Livingstone Gallery, Amsterdam
2010 I as Painter, Galerie Fons Welters, Amsterdam (solo)
2010 The painter is a hero, Arti et Amicitiae, Amsterdam
2010 Pulse New York, Livingstone Gallery, New York City
2010 Once Mohr, Defka Campis, Assen
2009 Sweaty Handshakes, Praediniussingel 59, Groningen
2009 Und auf deinem Kopf sitzt eine Qualle und lacht, Gallery untitled, Berlin
2009 Fresh Paint, Livingstone Gallery, The Hague (solo)
2009 Tomorrow's Graduates Now, Frank Mohr Instituut, Groningen
2008 Royal awards for painting, Gem Museum, The Hague
2008 21 In The Mix, Royal Academy of Fine Arts, The Hague
2008 Untitled: Artists in building, former KPN building, The Hague
2007 Expo +, King Kong Gallery, The Hague
Awards / Nominations
2011 Koninklijke Prijs voor Vrije Schilderkunst (nomination)
2010 Buning Brongers Prijs (award)
2008 Koninklijke Prijs voor Vrije Shilderkunst (nomination)
2008 Goedman Prijs (award)