Artist of the Week

Jens Kothe

March 19, 2024

Jens Kothe (b. 1985) lives and works in Bochum and Düsseldorf, Germany.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do.

My practice is a continuous exploration of the world through photography and sculpture. I’m fascinated by the beauty of nature and human forms, and these themes permeate my work. Currently, my work is influenced by the connection between humans and the environment, as well as the subtle boundaries and transitions between them. Additionally, I explore the boundaries and transitions between inner and outer realms.

Stressed Membranes XXII, Ornamental Tryouts | 2022 | cushion, fabric, wood construction, transparent varnish, nails, staples, acryl, pigments, velvet, pine wood | 153/115/16 cm

Being recurrent themes in your practice, what interests you most about borders and the idea of permeability?

Borders and the idea of permeability are recurring themes in my work, as they explore the complex relationships between humans and the environment, as well as between reality and imagination. These themes provoke contemplation about the multiplicity of our existence.

Fleischkaroussel | 2022| cement mortar steel, steel, silicone, industrial rollers, beeswax, pigments, textile, polyurethane, wood, acrylic filler, acrylic UV protective varnish | 210/165/180 cm

If you had to explain your work to a stranger, what would you say?

If I had to explain my work to a stranger, I would say it deals with the beauty and vulnerability of nature and the human body, as well as the subtle boundaries between reality and fantasy. But it always starts from the very close, our body or our most intimate environment…

What catalyzed your interest in the body?

My interest in the human body was sparked by the beauty and complexity of its forms and movements. I find it fascinating how the body is both an individual and universal theme, carrying many cultural and emotional meanings.

Entering the Plinth, Wall Object VI | 2016 | cushion, cushion nails, untreated cotton, concrete, glass, glassprint, construction wood | 208/100/25 cm

How did your interest in art begin?

My interest in art began in my youth when I started viewing the world through the lens of my camera. The fascination with capturing moments and emotions has stayed with me since then. Through my interest in traditional craftsmanship and training as a wood sculptor, the immediacy of materials has become an integral part of my work.

In terms of process, subject, and theme, what similarities and differences are there between your photographic and sculptural works?

In my photographic works, the formal focus often lies in capturing details of the body in fleeting moments, while my sculptural works often explore forms and textures.

Mobile Stand | 2022 | sand, cement, steel, upholstery wadding, construction wood, UV protective varnish, staples, putty, nails, silicone, pigment, thread, polyurethane | 60/70/130 cm

You have an academic background in architecture. What role does architecture play in your practice?

My background in architecture plays a significant role in my practice, as it has given me a deep understanding of form, space, and structure. These elements often manifest in my sculptural works.

Your work transforms ordinary materials into extraordinary forms. How does this transformational process relate to the overall narrative of your work?

The transformation of ordinary materials into extraordinary forms is a central aspect of my work. These processes reflect the idea that aesthetics are often found in change and transformation, contributing to the narrative depth of my pieces.

Stapled Cracks I | 2023 | upholstery wadding, construction wood, staples, textile panne velvet, chalk, pigments, UV protective varnish

Any recent, upcoming or current projects you are working on?

Currently, I’m working on a piece for the upcoming exhibition in New York. It will build upon the series “Stapled Cracks”…

Images courtesy of Jens Kothe. Interview conducted by Ellie Schrader.