‘Instead of cheap booze, J&B dishes up some disturbing political issues. Stickers, protest slogans and melted refuse bags, rendered painterly through folds and shades of color, bring social unrest to the art space. What exactly are the refugees running away from? Is only a consumer-immigrant a good immigrant? To spot the dead fly in the soup is one of the artist's most honorable roles.’ Swiss curator Annina Zimmermann
Is there beauty in decay, even in moral decay? Vanitas artists from the Dutch golden age showed still lifes with lemons, flies and skulls. They had their reservations about the hubris and the inevitable decline of their decadent society. The Rotterdam based J&B collective hijacks the Vanitas tradition and lets Western society comment on itself.
J&B uses the vocabulary of the street. Colored bin bags are applied directly to the wall in compositions reminding of color field painting and minimal art, with radical recent protest signs fading in. In combination with weathered drawings, glass flies, street soundscapes, lifelike figures and unique stickers, they form thought provoking installations. As in a broken mirror we see the complex zeitgeist and our own, contradictory, human nature.
The scientist within the artist reveals himself in 'Unknown'. Combining the compositions with self developed techniques, Jacob explores the unknown through the themes spirituality, science, originality and unknown images. The exhibition forms a complete installation with sculptures, two dimensional works, texts and a sound scape.
Making the unknown less frightening has always been an important facet of spirituality. It is also the case in Jacob's work My brother's demons, in which the hidden underworld is made visible.
Nowadays it is science that has taken over the explanation of the unknown. Science is perceived as the new spirituality. Science and spirituality work side by side in the artwork Break free entropy! (to dust thou shall return); there is no place for the unknown here. The unknown is being destroyed by a wrecking ball.
Jacob poses questions in this exploration. In the work It's Heaven! (how astronomers make us believe in the colorful universe), Jacob explores if there is such a thing as objective knowledge. The Tower of Babel suggests that knowledge has not and will not reach heaven.
The exploration of the unknown also raises other issues. Is it possible to make unknown works; how does originality come about?
The above questions and the resulting unrest are topical. Economic science has performed poorly before and during the financial crisis, with significant social implications. And the fraudulent and plagiarizing professor Stapel, psychology, turns out to be the tip of the iceberg. Will there be a revolution in the holy faith in science?
In Jacob's Interview with Unknown this question is treated with irony. Plagiary as the opposite of originality predominates, as is the case in the work The economist blames the scientist (as the artist lifts their cover). It questions also the certainty with which the scientist, for example, an economist, postulates his conclusions.
To think about the unknown is a paradox. Jacob considers images that we have never seen before as a visual expression of the unknown and therefor as a possibility to think about this paradox. In artworks as Unknown END, Prosperity and the sculptures Inconcrete Jacob creates unknown images. Not only unknown in imagery, but also in the techniques that are used. Construction and production thus contribute to the unknown images. Silkscreen offers a view behind the scenes of the production process.
The different artworks are tied together with an Industrial lounge, a sounscape with production sounds, a church choir and the beat of the wrecking ball of Break free entropy! The series of works in Unknown thus form an installation, existing of sculptures, two dimensional works, texts and soundscape.
Unknown images intrigue me. Such images do not necessarily correspond to abstract art. A geometric abstract painting can be much more familiar than a portrait with a twist.
Much of what we see is shaped by our perception and experience. Unknown images therefore pose a challenge; do we consider them a threat or an opportunity?
I paint with photos. The subject of the photos is not overly important, the photos are the paint of the artwork. To illustrate this; only if you look closely at Old man you'll notice that the work is composed of fruit and vegetables.
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