»Ina von Jan’s Experiments in the Light of Contrasting Initial Approaches«

written by Eugen Gomringer, 2018

Whoever has made a study of Ina von Jan’s art of perception from her early years in the foregoing century will have noticed her alliance with the ordering potency of Concrete Art. And yet, with their transparent constellations the linear formations and coloured surfaces of von Jan’s paintings display a freedom that accommodates experimentation in both realms – in colour as well as in form – as integral developmental aspects.

This first phase is rigorously further explored and coupled with an enhanced focus on the square form in the double frame. This leads to a decisive focus on the perception of colour and form in utmost concentration within the square, thus recalling one of the major approaches of the second half of the foregoing century as witnessed in the relativity of colour in Josef Albers’ interactions.

By comparison, this line of vision evokes a contrastive approach, emanating not from an established form but inspired rather by freedom for colour, as articulated in Rupprecht Geiger’s manifesto: “One must indeed help colour”, in other words, it must be sustained with serviceable form and free space. In the context of European art, the intermediate realm between the two initial positions has been repeatedly exploited – often unconsciously – for countless experiments in perception, for the most part in diverse ways, either by incorporating new technical means, or else by drawing on philosophical artifice.

In contrast to the recent revival of colour-form-op-art-effects, Ina von Jan has resolutely devoted herself to the deepening of colour perception; in doing so – by concentrating on yellow, for example, – she has achieved wonderfully original results which have yet further accentuated her path in colour. She has thus opted for the third way and assists the colour with concurrent exploration in serviceable form. As already described elsewhere, in her search for an augmentation of both the concept and reception of perception, Ina von Jan has also revisited her linear constructions and, in doing so, precisely allocates it to square colour surfaces.

Needless to say, in the course of her material research she also familiarized herself with the qualities of acrylic glass. The characteristics of spatial transparency – as already evident in the pictures of concrete constellations – find well-suited material support and inspiration in the acrylic glass object. Similarly, Ina von Jan is no less thorough in her generous use of the industrial product in an endeavour to secure its applicability to the artistic concept from every angle. This she employs in segments which, strictly calculated, serve a surface composition through which the theme of colour interplay takes effect in several respects: just as, taken in their entirety, the gradations of the three or four squares in Josef Albers’ work achieve an effect which evolves from a two-dimensionality to an enigmatic three-dimensionality, so Ina von Jan succeeds no less with the same element of surprise by introducing new means, whereby she has far more possibilities at her disposal for the choice of an aesthetic order. The success of Ina von Jan’s acrylic glass objects is achieved by experiments of a new orientation within the broad field of possibilities facilitated by the Internet and algorithms. The superficiality, lack of transparency and depth of these are generally countered by the return and reassertion of analogy in the digital realm. Ina von Jan’s pictures are, in this sense, pioneering achievements for new perspectives, reminiscent as they are of the congruity and laws of the concrete foundation the artist was able to acquire early on.

© Eugen Gomringer. October 2018
Translated by Justin Morris

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