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Jan Sivertsen

Jan Sivertsen (b. 1951) was trained at Det Kongelige Danske Kunstakademi in Copenhagen during the years 1977 to 1982. After that he attended École Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. In 1984 he settled permanently in the French capital.
 
At Det Kongelige Danske Kunstakademi in Copenhagen Jan Sivertsen was trained by the Danish artists Albert Mertz, Svend Dalsgaard and Robert Jacobsen, and he was in the same class as the painters Claus Carstensen, Peter Bonde and Nina Sten-Knudsen. Contrary to his fellow students, however, who came out as some of the ”Unge Vilde” (young wild ones) group of artists in 1982, Jan Sivertsen chose a different approach to painting.
 
One may be induced to regard Jan Sivertsen as an abstract expressionist who works spontaneously with his painting. This is not the case, though – Jan Sivertsen’s way of working is just the opposite: analytical, carefully prepared and methodical. The paintings come into being on the basis of a strict set of rules that limits his use of colours and composition.
 
Jan Sivertsen works with three palettes: A French palette that is impressionist, sensuous and refined, dominated by red and blue in combination with silver and white. A Germanic that is more expressive, bodily and sexual using a special pink combined with yellow, red and black. And finally a dreamy and melancholy Northern palette that mainly uses green and violet.
 
In terms of composition Jan Sivertsen combines two sets of rules. One set is a form alphabet which provides a skeleton for the paintings. It consists of basic geometrical shapes such as cross, circle, triangle and wave in a number of different combinations.
 
The other set of rules relates to the human body. The proportions of the painting are determined relative to Jan Sivertsen’s own body. Just as the form alphabet the human body – which is more or less visible in many of his paintings – becomes a basic compositional element that determines the composition of the painting.
 
The rules are a basic condition of painting. Jan Sivertsen chooses the rules beforehand, as a composer chooses the key and form of a composition. This limitation defined by Jan Sivertsen sets the framework for his work. 
 
To Jan Sivertsen, painting is what it is: a surface hung in a room, painted and treated with different colours and materials. It is not a picture of reality it is part of reality – a physical object whose impact is created by virtue of its own physical presence in the room. The picture is about itself and its own existence – about colour, composition and form.
Jan Sivertsen, foto Hans Ole Madsen