Janes Haid-Schmallenberg (b. 1988) makes work that explores the intellectual contribution of a contemporary painting mostly using abstract shapes and forms through an allegoric, dynamic and expressive manner. “Processing means to be constantly aware of the decisions you make” states the emerging artist, while adding that “it’s very important not just to react to what the painting dictates. Instead you can find solutions for a painting that aren’t pre-given and yet come out very stable in the end. Painting for me has a lot to do with observing this process.”
Words: Yannis Kostarias
His recent body of work seems to differentiate from previous creations that were less reductive and more laboured in rich coloured patterns. Haid-Schmallenberg’s late work emphasises on aesthetics with a clearer reduction of form, minimized figures and grotesque rigour. The Berlin-based artist now seems to concentrate on an alluring contrast between the glowing monochromatic canvas surface and manifold abstract and figurative set of visualizations.
He deals with a minimalistic iconography rendering a smarter interpretation regarding its spatial significance. Scrawled depictions define his new work executed in a bizarre and distorted way despite the painter’s various colourful tones. His latest art also evokes more provocative feelings due to the represented subjects, while conveying a flexible fluid into their final painting forms on canvas. In addition, the newer works seem to present more incongruent elements applied on canvas with a comfortable attitude towards the viewers’ eyes. Considering the genre of naïve art, Haid-Schmallenberg’s technique could be argued that incorporates a childlike simplicity of vision, but does not lack the painterly execution’s skillfulness.
The irrelevant imagery directly draws the attention, intellectually irritates the mind and inevitably calls for completing the puzzle. For example, in Dalai Lama (2017) and Echoes (2017) by aiming to approach the artist’s paintings with a creative tolerance, the level of dependency from the visual disharmony is reduced and eventually a greater engagement with the Haid-Schmallenberg’s unformed depictions is achieved. As the first gaze gets disconnected from the corporal, the sensation of experiencing the painter’s work is enhancing.
Haid-Schmallenberg has created a series of freakish scenes, where the artist puts an emphasis on the idea of a visually unnatural synthesis through minimizing figures – possibly underlying the artist’s inner intention to project the grotesque. A series of asymmetrical compositions do not allow the viewer’s eyes to effortlessly follow and be in conformity with the image. Fluid and rushed, Haid-Schmallenberg’s recent depictions are seemingly provisional and reflect sheer enthusiasm that indicates the passion of art-making via combining ambiguous and discomfiting images. His late body of artwork can be seen both as expression of sarcastic representation as well as a paradigm of dark amusement.
Born in Warstein, Germany, Haid-Schmallenberg now lives and works in Berlin. In 2013, he graduated from the Art Academy in Düsseldorf under professor Siegfried Anzinger. His work has been exhibited in many art galleries across Germany and Mexico.
In his interview with Art Verge, Haid-Schmallenberg shares his approach on his bizarre art-making and other art issues, while providing some interesting insights about his daily life. Check it out!
Janes Haid – Schmallenberg’s upcoming solo exhibition is in March 2018 at the gallery Hoorn & Reniers in Netherlands.
Art Verge: Can you tell us about the process of making your work?
Janes Haid-Schmallenberg: Processing means to be constantly aware of the decisions you make. For me it’s very important not just to react to what the painting dictates. Instead you can find solutions for a painting that aren’t pregiven and yet come out very stable in the end. Painting for me has a lot to do with observing this process.
AV: How would you define your work in few words (ideally in 3 words)?
JHS: Happy, nerdy, nervous.
AV: Can you name any artists you, lately or generally, take inspiration from?
JHS: Lately, I was more inspired by writers like Roberto Bolaño and David Foster Wallace. As for artists, I generally prefer to mistrust them in a loving way, especially the dead ones. But recently, Dale Lewis, Katherine Bernhard and Basquiat, for example, have affected me a lot.
AV: Creating a new painting can be a solitary process. If this applies to you, when you concentrate on a new artwork does it affect your social life at all?
JHS: I don’t need to be alone when I paint. It’s like eating. And sometimes you like to eat alone, sometimes not.
AV: How do you know when an artwork is finished?
JHS: When I have the hunch I had when I started it.
AV: What about the place where you work? What’s your studio space like, and how does it affect your process?
JHS: I have a bright and high room to paint and a workshop for ceramics in the basement. Also a kitchen and a place to sleep. It’s not somewhere outside of the city which is important to me because I really need distraction sometimes so I go out to see what happens outside.
AV: Which exhibition did you visit last?
JHS: I went to Serpentine Gallery to see Rose Wylie and Wade Gyton. But I didn’t know the gallery was closed on that day and I had my flight back some hours later.
AV: What do you hope audiences will take from your work?
JHS: The reason why I look at paintings is to see different ways of thinking. A painting is full of happy and unhappy decisions, which you can try to read. I hope that I make paintings that motivate people to try to read what they see.
AV: What does your mum think about your art?
JHS: She’s benevolent.
AV: Are you a morning person or a night owl?
JHS: Morning person.
AV: Is the glass half empty or half full?
JHS: Doesn’t matter. Just empty it.
AV: Which are your plans for the near future?
JHS: Fill the glass again.