Jonathan Berkh: Choreographing the Abstract

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A Symphony of Movement and Structure

Jonathan Berkh, a Vienna-based conceptual artist, has spent nearly three decades masterfully weaving his background in contemporary jazz dance and choreography into the fabric of his visual artistry. This unique blend of performing and visual arts has endowed Berkh with a multidimensional perspective, enabling him to view his creations through the lenses of choreographers, dancers, and audiences alike. Such an approach has become a hallmark of his work, where the interplay of shapes, spaces, and structures forms an intricate dance of emotions, energies, and thoughts.

Movement, a fundamental element in Berkh’s art, captures more than just the physical; it encapsulates the fluidity of expression and interaction between the abstract and the defined. This dynamic is reflected in his relentless pursuit to deconstruct and reassemble various structures—be they intellectual, architectural, natural, or conceptual. Through this process, Berkh explores abstract systems and opens up new spaces for perspective and creation, allowing him to move freely within the redefined confines of his artistic domain.

The Artistic Genesis of Jonathan Berkh

“I didn’t become an artist; I always was one.” This statement captures Jonathan Berkh’s intrinsic connection to art, a journey that began not with a decisive moment, but as a continuum of his existence. His entry into the world of art was propelled by his conceptual vision, where the coherence and thematic continuity of his series and exhibitions garnered early recognition. This conceptual foundation has not only guided his career but also shaped the thematic and material explorations characteristic of his work.

Berkh’s artistic style is fundamentally abstract, often venturing into the realms of minimalism and chaos—where the latter is seen not as disorder but as a complex system governed by its own rules, such as entropy and mutual interactions. These themes are explored through his respect for the material limits and properties, pushing them to reveal their fullest potential while maintaining their inherent characteristics. This deep understanding allows Berkh to create works that are not confined by traditional frames but are instead designed to be dismounted and experienced in their purest form.

The Essence of Jonathan Berkh’s Workspace: Creativity Amidst Chaos

Jonathan Berkh’s creative sanctuary is as unconventional as his art. Requiring little more than paint, a brush, and a canvas, he maintains a minimalistic approach that belies the complexity of his work. Residing in a vibrant multigenerational household that includes a diverse array of personalities and talents—from a singer and an actress to an autistic family member and two lively dogs—Berkh embraces the chaos that comes with such diversity. This environment, while bustling, does not stifle his creativity; rather, it adds a layer of liveliness that is often mirrored in the dynamic qualities of his artworks.

Despite the potential distractions, Berkh has cultivated an ability to prepare extensively in his mind before materializing his thoughts onto canvas. This mental preparation allows him to work with a sense of liberation and spontaneity that is crucial to his process. The interplay of thorough planning and free execution typifies Berkh’s approach to art, enabling him to create within a bubble of focus and creativity, undeterred by the whirlwind of activity around him. This unique method of working ensures that each piece is not just an expression of visual art but a testament to living and thriving in a perpetual state of motion.

Influences and Inspirations: The Subconscious Palette of Jonathan Berkh

For Jonathan Berkh, identifying direct influences on his work is as complex and layered as the artworks he creates. While he acknowledges the subconscious as a major repository for the myriad impressions that later surface in his creations, Berkh can pinpoint certain figures whose work has consciously shaped his artistic perspective. Architects and artists like James Stirling, Paul Klee, M.C. Escher, and Joan Miró have each contributed to the way Berkh views structure and abstraction.

These influences are subtly woven into Berkh’s art, where architectural precision meets the surreal twists of Escher and the vibrant simplicity of Miró. The integration of such diverse artistic philosophies has equipped Berkh with a rich palette from which to draw, both literally and metaphorically. This eclectic mix informs his work, allowing him to explore and express abstract concepts in a manner that challenges and entices the viewer. Berkh’s ability to meld these influences into a coherent aesthetic that remains uniquely his own demonstrates his mastery over both his medium and his message, making each piece a deep, dialogic interaction with art history.


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