Galerie Peter Kilchmann
Zahnradstrasse 21, CH-8005 Zurich
tel. +41 44 278 10 10
March 2 - April 14, 2012
Galerie Peter Kilchmann is honored to announce the new single exhibition of Bruno Jakob. After
studying at the Kunstgewerbeschule Basel and Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, the Swiss artist (*1954)
relocated to New York in the 1980s. In 2011 Bruno Jakob was invited to participate in the 54.
Venice Biennial, where he exhibited two installations at the Arsenale and in the Main Pavilion (see
invitation card). Now Bruno Jakob presents a fascinating continuation of his installation Breath
(2010-2011), as well as the new three-dimensional and free hanging artwork Breath, Time
Suspended, Forever Interrupted (Weisses Lächeln) (2011) in the two rooms at the far end of the
gallery. A highlight is the installation of his newest series Unusual Things Happen (2012), which
consists of a combination of five open and rolled canvases (each 80 x 80 cm).
There is a long art historical tradition of empty paintings and monochrome canvases, and it would
be easy to view the works of Bruno Jakob as the heritage of constructivism or concept art. Such a
classification would however fall short of the works of this artist. Regardless of the supposed
blankness on his canvases, Jakobʼs art is all about sensuality. Here, one is not asked to
understand, but rather to sense the artworks. In contradiction to concept art Bruno Jakob works on
his paintings in a very traditional manner. He uses paintbrushes, thoughts, and steam to draw on
canvases, paper, and walls. He is interested in pinning down thoughts and impressions. The
pictures remain empty to our eyes only because Bruno Jakob uses energy, brainwaves or love
instead of pigments.
A historical analogy and connection might be made with the composition 4ʼ33ʼʼ (1952) from John
Cage, as Roman Kurzmeyer pointed out in an essay from 2007. With 4ʼ33ʼʼ the American painter
and composer John Cage created a score that instructs the performing musicians to remain still for
the duration of the recital. Suddenly concertgoers can hear the concert itself – the sounds of the
persons they are sitting next to, a stifled cough from the back rows, the buzzing of the ventilators.
Chance and coincidence play an important part in this composition.
Bruno Jakob understands painting similarly to how John Cage perceived music. The artworks of
Bruno Jakob can thus be described as vessels, waiting to be filled individually by each viewer. A
personal visual experience is central. The artist only provides subtle hints, giving us the titles of the
works and the descriptions of material and technique. However, which picture becomes visible
based on these declarations remains ambiguous. The outcome is inconceivable. Unusual things
might happen. You may chuckle.
Apart from the 54th Biennial of Venice Bruno Jakob exhibited in Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein,
Vaduz, as part of the group show “Example Switzerland” and in museum Haus Konstruktiv, Zurich,
as part of the show “The fantastic four – Zurich concrete” in 2011. Bruno Jakob also participated the
group show “Greater New York” in the P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, New York, in 2010. A
catalog, published on the occasion of his solo exhibition in Kunsthaus Langenthal, can be obtained
through the gallery. In 2012 Bruno Jakob will participate in the exhibition “Monochrome” in the art
space SALTS, Basel, and show works at the Kunstmuseum Luzern.