Jonathan Rosen “I Want To Dream” Exhibition

| January 16, 2016

All Images: Jonathan Rosen courtesy of Issa PR

Words by Jo McTavish

CONCEPTUAL and appropriation artist Jonathan Rosen ended 2015 with his “I Want to Dream” exhibition at Colette. The series marked his debut in Paris, and included twelve provoking pieces and eight new canvases made specifically for the show.

In a rare and exciting move, “Rosen’ will be taking a residency in Sydney where he will feature an exhibition with Palmer Art Projects.

We had the chance to chat with Jonathan before he arrives down under, to talk about Paris, his career and some of the many exciting things 2016 has to offer.

MM: Hi Jonathan, welcome to 2016!

JR: Thanks Moustache for having me! Super excited to start the year in OZ!

I want to begin with your first European solo show “I Want to Dream” at Colette in Paris last year. I found it be such a powerful way to express emotion and feelings through art. What was the most unique part about the creation of this collection?

The dream series has become an ongoing coming-out party of sorts. Each piece is personal and has become a cathartic transformative journey through the creation process. Since I was young I was hesitant to share my biggest dreams because I thought that would mean I was bragging or had an inflated ego. I think most people have their own version of these obstacles that get in the way of what they want. Now through art, my dreams come to fruition or not, but either way are no longer just taking up space in my mind. The show at Colette was a continuing of these confessions.

I really admire your piece “I Want Peace”, which you added to collection days after the terrible tragedies in Paris. Being right in the heart of a city of love, art and then terror, what were the feelings running through your mind when creating this symbolic piece?

The attacks happened about a week before the exhibition and my initial reaction was it needed to be pushed back or worse it would be canceled.  Paris was very much still in shock and mourning. Sarah Andelman (owner of Colette) insisted (rightfully) that the show must go on or terror wins. But after the attacks, the context of the show changed and I needed to find a way to contribute.

Serendipitously, I had planned a different material version of “I Want Peace” which I had excluded because of time-constraints. The structural component was already made so I brought it with me to Paris. I searched the city and from an antique flea market, I found vintage pre-WWI & WWII postcards of Paris which beautifully preserve an idyllic Paris.  Letters on the reverse side becomes a reminder that the desire for peace never left us.

I was invited by Sarah to make the piece at Colette during opening hours. At first I was shy about making the artwork in public, but it turned out to be the highlight of the exhibition for me as I was able to interact with so many wonderful Parisians during that difficult time.

The Yoko Ono quote, “A dream you dream alone is only a dream, a dream you dream together is reality”, had a major inspiration on “I WANT TO DREAM”. What brought you towards these amazing words and what is like being able to bring it to life through your art?

I was ecstatic to discover the Yoko Ono’s quote about a year after I started the “I Want” series. It summed up beautifully what I was feeling, but I couldn’t yet articulate. I knew from my life experience, that dreaming solely in my head wasn’t really living. It’s only when you bring that dream into the light and share with people does it grows into reality. If I never uttered the words out loud: “I want to be an artist”, I would not be speaking with you today. Dream-making I now believe is as simple as that.

Jonathan, as someone who enjoys many aspects of art, I honestly cannot wait for you to come to Australia. What can we expect form your new residency and how here?

I’m excited to be here in Sydney to make art, while escaping the NYC winter with my fiancé and fellow artist, Tom Smith. We were invited by our gallerist, Diana Palmer of Palmer Art Projects, to do a residency at her new gallery space in Woollahra for the month of January followed by an exhibition in February. I will be exhibiting pieces from the “I Want To Dream series”, while during the residency I’ll be working on a brand new series – a luxury that I don’t usually have back home in NYC.

In a former time of your life you were an advertising creative. What kind of influence has this had through you artist lens?

Words and visuals have meaning on their own, but together can be exponentially more powerful.

The expression of art through collage on canvas and panel has been a unique point of recognition at the moment. What do you love about using these materials?

I never had a talent for painting or drawing, so collage has been my vehicle for making things. With the “I Want” series, I have a simple rule that I never use the same material or object twice.  Each material with its own aesthetic and perceived meaning has given me infinite source material to express myself – more so than paint would ever have.

I feel as though your ambitious and inspiring career is leading towards many great opportunities in 2016. I believe your launching an art-technology start up this year. I am very interested to know more about this, are you able to give away some insight?

Like beginning with a blank canvas, creating a start-up can be very exciting, but exponentially more challenging. When we launch in 2016, our platform will streamline the process in which artists (of all disciplines) search for art opportunities (grants, residencies, commissions etc.). These opportunities are just as important to an artist’s practice as the art itself, but are often very laborious and time consuming to find. I want to make that process simpler, so artists can do what they do best…which is making their art.

Before we finish, we love our readers to succeed in whatever they choose. As an artist and professional what would be some aspirations and inspirations you have for them?

Dream out loud.

Thank you so much for your time Jonathan. I wish you all the best for 2016 and look forward to crossing paths soon.

Thanks for having me! If you are in Sydney in February we would love to have you.

Exhibition opens in February at Palmer Art Projects Suite 2.82 Queen Street Woollahra 2025 

You can discover more about Jonathan Rosen here and @jonathanrosen_art

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