It was during the Rencontres Internationales de la Photo at Arles that we had the chance to meet Jean Janssis. We undertook this first meeting with the help of Higgins, as you hopefully already know one of our editors and a regular contributor to Fine Art Tv.
Jean Janssis is a familiar face at the Rencontres d’Arles festival, one of the most established aficionados along with Ken Dami the collector and famous expert of Italian photographs. Jean has become a regular exhibitor of his works in the ephemeral places offered by this town of Arles, something that has allowed us to discover through several of his series of pictures other facets of this man.
Jean Janssis, as you will see in the film that we have shot about him, is a photographer, but also a subtle mix of artist with a profound taste for philosophy that was his first calling.
Jean Janssis comes from Liege and his roots are those of someone passionate about pictures and images. After finishing his degree at the University of Liege in 1975, he tried photography, and through his love of this new discipline taught himself many techniques and became a professional 10 years later after passing the selection criteria of the Jury d’Etat.
The worlds of photography of Jean are multiple.
What Jean loves the most in terms of photography are those subjects that touch, those that surround him include, dogs, and his friends. Jean Janssis tried nude photography a subject that has become very strong in his work. The human body is placed in a position central and the artist sees this work as a form of continuation of his studies, his cultural passion, somewhat more than his need to satisfy or to reveal himself in eroticism. He confided to Pierre Bastin in an article in 1991 in the publication "La Wallonie" : "There are not staged shots, but those that are posed... It is also an eroticism of big themes and big fantasies, those of literature and of painting..."
Can we ever disconnect an artist from the techniques that he uses? The technique is a way for Jean to release the essentials themes of his subjects? As you have been able to read in our columns, Marc Henri Cykiert also says (Sensuality – 15th October) to find only color can alter in reality our vision with too much information. Color can really limit our ability to see the depth of the soul of a work, and this is certainly the case with Jean Janssis, who uses a technique to shoot his work with gum bi-chromate. This technique was created by Alphonse Louis Poitevin in France in 1855, and is a tool to give his art the expression desired.
Watch and listen to him talk to us about his body of work, in Venice and you will better understand why Jean Janssis is more than just a photographer.
In this expression photographic of Jean Janssis, the truth is emptied of its excess and we sense a level of intensity as if finally the artist had only wanted to show the essential.
In the work that he has undertaken in Venice and that has given birth to a book, Jean magnifies the luster of this city. For those of you who have had the chance to see a big shoot, this work is unique. During the Parcours Parisien de La Photographie, in June 2007, Jean Janssis exhibited his work at the Gallery Sparts in Paris and we had the chance to savor his work on Venice with oversized prints…. Jean has been capable of capturing the essential facets of this city and with each shot he transports us there with the sentiments of its beauty and a real sense of melancholy. The splendor of the subject is somewhat erased, and the aspect mysterious is exaggerated. We can imagine that we are in the film of Visconti ‘Death in Venice’, we are above all in the spirit of the same work of Janssis: purity of expression, a handmade work of the craftsman, the use of the best materials, of water that takes away the impurities and that give Venice a brightness, an exceptional reflection. We become transported there.
These pictorial esthetics are perfectly present in the work of Jean Janssis and he it is clear that he undertakes his work with true passion.
Come and meet him with us.