Portraits by Jan Jungling

In this collection, Jungling presents over 200 portraits, showing both familiar and unfamiliar faces, both beauty and ugliness, youth and age. This is a truly comprehensive series, showing humanity as an infinite variation on one form. It is the one form, ultimately, that is revealed through this immense variation; looking at so many faces, presented in so many ways, one comes to see the underlying structure in them all.

Jungling uses collage, sketch, and paint, to draw out different features from a single portrait and make each version into a unique expression. With this multitude of faces, he takes the viewer on a journey through the history of art. We see portraiture in all its guises in this series. Ultimately, Jungling is showing us how the portrait can change and be reinterpreted, but it still hinges on that same structure beneath. Here, then, is the culmination of portrait painting; all kinds of faces shown, to depict the single skeleton beneath.

Now that we have seen this foundation upon which all portrait is built, we can move on to Jungling’s abstract works. Here, he is exploring a new structure, offering an alternative to the familiar old forms. This, therefore, is true innovation, creating change not only at the surface but in the fundamental basis of painting. Jungling is changing the skeleton of the image.

The new form is a bisected sphere. We see both the inner and outer world displayed at once, both equal and both illuminated. The structure of the sphere allows for both convex and concave line to create the fundamentals of the image. From this, Jungling can then fill in the detail, travelling around the contours of the spheres, adding colour and form.

As with the 200 portraits, in his abstractions Jungling uses repetition to highlight the new underlying structure. However, because the spherical form is truly new, across all the many abstract images created one never feels the loss of individuality. Each image is new, and captivating. The eye travels the inner and outer worlds of the sphere in an endless, cosmic journey.

This is an extension of the history of art, an exploration of form, and finally a breaking free into new possibility.

© Jakub Kavan