Jan Harsman (1966 - Coevorden, the Netherlands) makes conceptual artworks, performances, media art and installations. By investigating language on a meta-level, Harsman tries to come to terms with contemporary semiotic backlashes: transformed into art, language becomes an ornament. At that moment, lots of ambiguities and indistinctnesses, which are inherent to the phenomenon, come to the surface.

His conceptual artworks directly respond to the surrounding environment and uses his everyday experiences as an artist as a starting point. Often these are framed instances that would go unnoticed in their original context. Through his conceptual approach, he wants the viewer to become part of the art as a kind of added component. Art is entertainment: to be able to touch the work, as well as to interact with the work is important.

His works are based on inspiring situations: visions that reflect a sensation of indisputability and serene contemplation, combined with subtle details of odd or eccentric, humoristic elements. By creating situations and breaking the passivity of the spectator, he tries to approach a wide scale of subjects in a multi-layered way, likes to involve the viewer in a way that is sometimes physical and believes in the idea of function following form in a work.

His works focus on the inability of communication which is used to visualise reality, the attempt of dialogue, the dissonance between form and content and the dysfunctions of language. In short, the lack of clear references are key elements in the work.
Jan Harsman currently lives and works in Amsterdam.

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