Christian Jankowski’s work consists of performative interactions between himself and non-art professionals, between contemporary art and the so-called ‘world outside of art’. During the course of his artistic career, Jankowski has collaborated with magicians, politicians, news anchors, and members of the Vatican, to name just a few. Jankowski registers these performative collaborations using the mass media formats in which he stages his work – film, photography, television, newspapers. This procedure lends his work its populist appeal. Jankowski’s work can be seen as a reflection, a deconstruction, and a critique of a society based on spectacle.
Christian Jankowski shows:
All About My Work and Me, 16mm, 2010, 10:00 min
Christian Jankowski was invited by Susanne Pfeffer to participate in the book publication My Work and Me in which the curator wanted to focus on the unique relationship between the artist and his work. His contribution was an interview in front of a camera. Unlike a classic interview situation, the questions already contained the answers and therefore the conversation became redundant. With this dramaturgic
structure, Jankowski quotes the sequence All about Eve from Jean-Luc Godard’s Rolling Stones film One plus one (Sympathy for the Devil), where Eve Democracy is interviewed by a camera team. Like Eve, Jankowski rambles through the forest followed by the profoundly inquisitive Susanne and two camera teams. One of the teams is seen as characters in the film, the other is actually shooting it. The sponsor of the project, Brigitte Oetker, is part of the work and appears in the role of the camera operator. The duration of the video is identical to the length of a 16mm film roll: 10 minutes. The publication All About My work And Me shows the photographed script, a photograph of the film roll and a production still.
Casting Jesus, 2011, 60 min
Casting Jesus focuses on an audition to select an actor that best interprets the Son of God. Using a casting show format, similar to X-Factor or American Idol, 13 actors compete for the role of Jesus. A distinguished panel of real Vatican members judges the actors as they complete a variety of tasks including breaking bread, performing a miracle, or carrying the cross, as well as dramatic interpretations of their favourite Jesus quotes. Filmed by Jankowski in the Complesso Santo Spirito in Sassia, Rome, -at one time a refugee centre for pilgrims- the actors are gradually narrowed down to one finalist by the jury. In a separate room, an audience was able to watch the casting via livestream. Jankowski questions how the Catholic Church perceives the artistic representation of Jesus today and how, in turn, this image is translated into modern media.
Christian Jankowski (b. 1968 in Göttingen, Germany) lives and works in Berlin. He and studied at the Academy of Fine Arts, Hamburg. Recent solo exhibitions include Mexico City, Mexico (2012); MACRO, Rome, Italy (2012); Nassauischer Kunstverein Wiesbaden, Germany (2009); Kunstmuseum Stuttgart, Stuttgart, Germany (2008); Miami Art Museum, Florida, USA (2007); MIT List Visual Art Center, Massachusetts, Cambridge, USA (2005); Swiss Institute, New York, USA (2001) and the Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, Connecticut, USA (2000). He has participated in numerous group exhibitions Including Project Los Altos (off-site show in Silicon Valley, staged by San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, USA 2013); both Taipei and Sydney Biennials (2010); the Whitney Biennial, New York, USA (2002) and the Venice Biennale (1999, 2013).