“I paint at night because I wait to the last minute to do something. Everybody is sleeping, you are one of the only people doing something, you are like a wolf howling in the night with your painting. There are less people talking to God than you are. It’s a performance but it’s more meditation. When you do a painting, you are not acting, you don’t have much expression on your face: you are just really into yourself, it is very concentrated. People wrote a lot about movement in my paintings but it’s actually very, very slow and quiet what I do, it’s more for your eyes instead of my body, it’s important for that. I could paint maybe just with my brain. That would be nice to try. It’s very spiritual. Every fucking work is spiritual actually. It’s like the stairway to heaven. Every step is important otherwise you couldn’t be at the next one. So if you just do one painting, it must be bad, so the next one can be better, you are building up something out of your imagination which is like being alive. Its like a diary for me, they always represent the time and myself when I made them; but that’s not really visual in them, that’s just for me, it’s just my own little secret diary. You are even happy about if it’s happening wrong. Its good if it’s wrong. Mistakes are the best things to do in art. Everything you do that you to try to make right, is always wrong. For real. That’s really wrong. So, you better just not start doing something right. And then you make it right. And in the end then you have a composition which feels right, again, even if it’s wrong. I like to do the big paintings because they are like a view, like standing in front of the ocean. Small paintings can be nice, they are like little windows. But big paintings, they are like landscapes for real, even in a portrait format, it’s like sub-conscious landscape. That’s why I really like that there are some five-metre paintings around now. This big format really works well. So maybe I should just do one of these a year. The studio has some atmosphere. It’s very important to have a meditative room. Sometimes some music, but I like audio books, I like reading while I am painting… oil colour is food because it doesn’t dry so quick it stays active, it’s really good quality, everything is fine.” Jan Pleitner to Bruce Haines, on a walk in a park in Dusseldorf.
JAN PLEITNER — Download CV (pdf)