Intrigued by the legend of the Tower of Babel, Jan wants visitors to enter the gallery as we enter a tower. The process of discovery and observation of works creates a momentary connection between visitors. In a broader perspective, it is a metaphor for the large globalized village in which we live. We share, globally, a geographical space, information, consumer goods. The artist remains skeptical about the future and our common destiny.
“Le 园” is a homonym of “乐园”, which means “wonderland” in Chinese. “Le” can also be understood as a singular masculine definite article in French, thus removing in the title its fantastic character. Also, 园 can also be used for “家园”, homeland. The possible interpretations are numerous for this Chinese word and this choice reflects the nuanced work of the artist.
In one of his forms, Jan’s work has a touch of innocence that reveals an underlying nostalgia. On the other hand, the artist is well aware of the limits of this game in which he invites us to take part.
In his own words “nothing can escape from the possibility of laughter and nothing is trivialized”. This delicate contradiction echoes the philosophical question posed by Milan Kundera in his evocative title, The Unbearable Lightness of Being.
In this land of wonders, if we are mere passers-by, then there is no real consequence. Thus, lightness exists by our helpless in the face of fatality, but also in the nihilism of existence itself. Jan, in his series Dispatchwork, the bubble machine or amorphous balloons, begins a speech whose register oscillates between playfulness and malaise.
In a certain degree, the Tower of Babel is both a wonderful place and a path to heaven. But the individual will submit to a higher power, a “god”. “Le 园” invented by the artist is perhaps this Garden of Eden at the mercy of this god. Or again, would it be the desire for progress? If the pursuit of a utopia symbolizes our hopes and dreams in itself, the moments of transitions can not be taken too seriously. Jan’s work understands this paradox. These moments are an interlude breaking with the mediocrity of everyday life at the same time as a remanence of our child’s gaze and a possible image of a common future.