Jean Klimak

Jean Klimak

Work from Chew by Numbers.

“I make artworks that have contradictions in them, artworks that lie somewhere between the sublime and ambivalence. Through these processes, I focus on materials that are dissimilar in nature or exhibited in curious ways. By working in this manner, tensions are created between the materials I choose or through the manipulation of their original contexts. For instance, tensions between attraction and repulsion insight disorder or chaos, at which point I impose my sense of order. In other words, I try to take the mundane and simply reorganize its significance.

By involving this process, I create a playing field where the materials I choose, the process I work in and sometimes the time frame I work within are determined before I begin. Most often the work unfolds as I create each piece. My work has a purpose that guides the activity with variables that are controlled and some that are purposely not controlled. A purposeful purposelessness as John Cage puts it. By using a sense of order to control some variables, I bring attention to or focus on the variables that I do not control.

My work has been informed by aspects of the everyday through the materials I choose and through simple activities that feed my interest in the passing of time. I am interested in moments in time and how numerous moments make up our daily lives. In particular, it is the small activities and experiences – banal moments – that I find interesting. Moments that may be considered nothing, but at the same time contain everything that is present: sights, sounds, smells, texture, life in general. I am interested in the banal moments in life that are easily dismissed or overlooked. Their relevance is still valid, if not in our thinking, at least in relation to the continuance of time.

In my work, chew-by-numbers, I explore the relationship that exists between gum, time, and pastimes. My project substitutes gum for paint in paint-by-number sets in order to show the relationship between the passing of time and the activity that fills it. The separate color sections represent blocks of my time that has been invested in each piece. I illustrate this time measurement with Letraset.

This project originates from 12 landscape paint-by-number kits. The colors of gum I chose corresponded as closely as possible to the provided colors of paint. The resulting colors on the surface of the kit, whether in pure form or by mixing the gum, is determined by the provided instructions. The total time of my activity is recorded on the picture surface with Letraset.” – Jean Klimac

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