Gerd Jansen

Grenzach-Wyhlen, Germany

I have always had a great interest in basic systematic strategies. I have looked for such systems in art, music and science. I was curious about underlying ideas –in nature, art, music, and every aspect of life. So my intention was to find a system that I could use as a compositional strategy.

I have used geometric elements in all periods of my work because they bring their own order or rules. Later, I began to understand that it was not so important to my goals to look to particular types of geometric elements, but rather to concentrate on the more basic process of time, which I reflect in the progression of natural numbers. Here was an even serial process on one hand, and, on the other, one where some elements have special characteristics, for example prime numbers. The structures in all my works made since 1997 are based on prime numbers, and since this time I have given them musical titles. The most important aspect of my work for the past 25 years is that I don’t make constructions or arrangements of forms, but rather I create refined structures with beginning and end points along a numeric progression that goes through each work. The purpose of the geometric elements and the actual making of the works is to make this process visible.

Since 2009 I have focused on a project I developed called countune. It seemed the inevitable consequence of my artistic goals, my involvement with natural numbers, and my experience with the public. I wanted to extract a more coherent working concept. With countune, I wanted to actively involve viewers and give them the freedom to make some specific choices, thereby lifting a barrier between them and the art. Viewers can decide on both the colors used and the length of the picture (i.e., how many numbers they work with). Countune combines two verbs: to count and to tune. It thus signifies the fusion of a horizontal and a vertical movement, somewhat like the melody of a song. This movement results from a constant repetition of a single entity based in principle on a series of numbers with a perpendicular wave. The arbitrary distribution of prime numbers gives each area its structure.

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