Kesín creates representations of his perception of different subjects. These have a wide range, from the autobiographical to general concepts, history and current affairs.
In many cases, the subject is deconstructed into ‘components’ which are then represented on a painting by separate layers. The layers interplay, some may only show through in small areas, some may get lost altogether with only some texture remaining visible.
His work is influenced amongst others by the earlier period of abstraction and the ideas of cubism and constructivism, by Gerhard Richter and by Howard Hodgkin’s associative abstraction.
J. Kesín was born in Germany. He has an MA in Cultural Studies and has lived the larger part of his adult life in the UK and Spain. He also spent extended periods of time in Russia and Uzbekistan in the years following the break-up of the Soviet Union.
Originally self-taught, he later studied painting under Sibylle Werkmeister.
The works of the series ‘Konstrukt’ draw inspiration from fields like architecture and civil engineering. They show imaginary materials and structures in a degree of (de-) construction.
The utilisation of transparency seems to question the permanence of these structures, possibly hinting at the transience even of supposedly concrete and durable things such as buildings, cities and infrastructure, maybe even civilisation as a whole.
Series ‘City Limits’:
Kesin started work on the series ‘City Limits’ while still working on ‘Konstrukt’. The imaginary architectural and constructional layers of ‘Konstrukt’ paved a path for a more figurative approach, in which the layers again start to carry more individual meaning. The theme revolves around cities in moments of crisis. Kesin’s process for ‘City Limits’ starts with research on the historical background and choosing photographs. Through alienation of these images and the use of additional layers and elements, the works aim to reach beyond the moments captured in the original photos, to issues of the present day.
Series ‘Future Relics’:
The ‘Future Relics’ series was first conceived for our exhibition ‘The Beauty of Forgiveness’ which took place in August 2021. The works show remnants of the relationship of our culture with animals and their use and production, like cages, egg cartons, or weapons, overlayed with shapes and symbols.
They come to us from an imaginary future society which has long consigned the use of animal products to its history books. One wonders what their thoughts are on our industries of mass ‘production’ and killing of animals. These industries are still growing today despite moral and ethical questions and the significant consequences for our environment and the climate.
Would an evolved society that may have emerged after a climate catastrophe forgive it’s predecessor and it’s politicians, lobbyists, producers and consumers? What message are these images supposed to convey to us?
Series ‘Stripes’ and ‘Horizons’:
The series ‘Stripes’ comprises abstract representations of the artist’s perception of different subjects. ‘Panther’, a visualisation of Rilke’s poem was the starting point of the series and initiated Kesin’s desire to explore the possibilities of combining different layers and aspects of a subject into one cohesive painting. Kesin uses various layering techniques and the compositions of this series are dominated by vertical lines / stripes.
Subsequent works in this series have been concerned with places and times that had a significant meaning for the artist. Here the different layers may represent facets like landscape, architecture, people, history, events….
The series ‘Horizons’ focuses more on current affairs and general concepts. The constraints of the strong vertical orientation give way to less uniform compositions, and more emphasis is placed on the application of thin, transparent layers.
Available Works ‘Stripes’:
Available Works ‘Horizons’:
Available Individual Works:
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A selection of Kesin’s works is also available to purchase online at Artsper.