Jordan Madlon at goeben / Berlin

Jordan Madlon

April 10 - May 15, 2021

Goebenstraße 22
Berlin, Germany

All images courtesy and copyright of the artist and space.
All photos by Stefan Hähnel

With his works, Jordan Madlon demonstrates a rejection of the rectangular form. Since the rectangle is historically associated with the frame, it marks a clear boundary and is thus itself the form of rejection and enclosure. In the exhibition „Glose“, the rectangle is limited to architecture, in which the artist embeds his irregular shapes. His lines are rather driven by a desire for opening and elasticity.

Opening and elasticity are central to Jordan Madlon‘s exhibition, as he enables the irregular shapes to pass through a variety of different qualities. This can be viewed in two exhibited shapes. I call them Ductus (as in „À propos de l’expressivité“) and Hatching (as in „Shablone“). The ductus, on the one hand, signifies the expressive power of brushstrokes, which the artist keeps in check as a motif, rendered by no less expressive pencil lines. Thus the drawn ductus is already an opening. From drawing to painting, from form to architectural format, from the current situation to art history (e.g. Roy Lichtenstein‘s „Brushstroke Paintings“, a kind of gloss on Abstract Expressionism). The hatching, on the other hand, is an essential shape that Aby Warburg would have called a serpentine line. As such it bundles the speed of zigzag with the joy of lurching. In “Glose” Jordan Madlon repeats the hatching at various spots through technical reproduction (stencilling, cutting, etc.) thereby opening shape to space. Consequently, the opening to space transforms the hatching. It is placed on a puckered support, occupies the wall and is three-dimensionally executed in fabric, slumping slightly due to its weight. For “Déplacement(s)”, the artist cut out the hatching shape from a colourful patterned fabric and sewed it with an uneven volume. A constellation, which reminds us of cave paintings: The irregular shape encounters the relief of an irregular ground. This reference captures also the site-specificity of the exhibition. „Glose“ is a self-commentary by the artist as well as a commentary on the spatial premises of goeben. The shape of an œuvre is placed on the moulded ground of an architecture. „Porte“, for example, follows the lines of the given surroundings, building a wall that one can walk through, and is ultimately a projection surface for the grisaille of a vague memory. Hence, on this surface the artist repeats shapes from his earlier works and those that (like the hatching) can be found elsewhere in the exhibition. 

Jordan Madlon endows his shapes with elasticity that provides an opening between solidity and adaptation. 

They incorporate a tight association of image and material while at the same time being outlined by the fluidity and speed of mind. The exhibited shapes thereby traverse a multitude of different layers: (art) history, language (Deleuze spoke of concepts that are cut to size), the different places of exhibition, their own body of work, the techniques of production and colours of their appearance. 

This passage through different layers should not be mistaken with the indecision of our current image use. Digital images appear in a wide variety of formats, materials or colours and are accordingly perceived in various ways. The shapes in Jordan Madlon‘s exhibition, however, neither reject external circumstances nor can they be deformed randomly. The artist counters the arbitrariness of current image practice with the thought and form of elasticity. Elasticity includes as much the ability to respond to the actual circumstances as it includes the ability to shape it.

Manuel van der Veen

Jordan Madlon was born 1989 in Les Abymes/Guadeloupe, French Caribbean. From 2008-2014 he studied at École Supérieur d‘Art et de Design de Saint-Étienne (FR). After his graduation in 2014, he was part of the post-graduate program with Prof. Helmut Dorner at Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Karlsruhe from 2014 to 2016. He was awared with Kunstart? Preis by François Schneider Foundation in 2017 and the grant of the Kunststiftung Baden-Württemberg in 2019. His works belong to several public collections such as François Schneider Foundation in Wattwiller (FR), MWK Baden-Württemberg (D) and FRAC Auvergne (FR). Recent solo shows include: Un amour si grand qu’il nie son objet at Kunststiftung Baden-Württemberg, Stuttgart (D), 2019; Du caractère de la nuance (with Julie Digard), Luis Leu, Karlsruhe (D), 2019; Seine Zunge im ZRaum halten, V8 Plattform für neue Kunst, Karlsruhe (D), 2018. Recent group shows include: Après l’école: biennale artpress at Musée d’art moderne et contemporain de Saint-Étienne Métropole (FR) in 2020; 49° - Offene Ateliers initiated by Badischer Kunstverein and BNN, Karlsruhe (D) in 2018; Höhenluft #13 at Kunstverein Wilhelmshöhe, Ettlingen (D) in 2017 and Jeune Création °67 at Thadeus Ropac, Paris (FR) in 2017.