Open Ended Self Assessments
"I have always been interested in tipping moments. When a new path suddenly forms in chaos; when moments of pleasure turn into moments of danger and vice versa; when the contrast between formalism and chance in a picture suddenly dissolves and reaches a state of equilibrium - that fascinates me. The canvas serves me simultaneously as a picture surface on which I can experiment and stage my own spectacles, as well as a confrontational mirror of inner states that makes the predominantly irrational visible. The simultaneous expression of the juxtaposition of different emotions that combine to form something whole and are discharged at the same time - that is great and real and that is what painting seems to me to be able to deliver as a medium."
Jakob Schöning (°1992, Stade, Germany), in his painting endeavors, seeks to unravel the mysteries of the human figure through an abstract-expressionist lens. He is deeply intrigued by paintings that are neither entirely non-representational nor purely figurative, often referred to as the "third way". This fascination has long held his attention. Schöning believes that the essence of his art lies not just in the end result, but in the creative process of painting itself. By engaging with the blank canvas in a gesturally expressive and intuitively non-representational manner, he establishes the groundwork for his artworks. His physical interaction with the canvas is palpable in the final pieces, evident through elliptical hand and arm movements and anti-naturalistic coloring.
In subsequent layers of color, Schöning consciously integrates figurative elements into the abstract base, creating a synthesis of the two extremes—non-representational and representational. This approach generates tension and opens new perspectives on familiar themes, which he finds particularly compelling. The interpretation of his paintings, where motifs seem to fluctuate between obscurity and clarity, and color clusters morph into recognizable figures and back again, is left to the viewer. Schöning's primary interest lies in fostering a diversity of interpretations in his group portrayals.
Notably, he refrains from using any templates or models in his submitted works, enhancing their instinctive qualities. Schöning's approach is not to delve into the psyche of the depicted figures but to express fluctuating states of mind through gesture, style, and color choice. In doing so, he reveals more about himself than the figures, who are often depicted as being shielded with helmets.