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Jan Petersen

The artist Jan Petersen, who was born in Bad Vilbel, in Hesse, likes things to be straightforward and blunt. His motto is “Art is food”. Petersen, an architect by trade, is the guy with the “Kunstkaufhaus – Ost”, an Internet portal for artwork from and about the former GDR. The most important issue for him is to make his art easily accessible for the people. Any means is fine by Petersen, as long as it is immediate and a little bit unconventional. Besides his idea of democratising art, of making it affordable for all, his objects are always made of the highest handcrafted quality and furnished with a very special finish. By coating his paintings with a layer of paraffin and a special patina, Petersen clearly creates his very own style.

The artist has long since moved to Brandenburg and now lives in the small village of Pfaffendorf. Artistically, he ranges somewhere between the traditions of Dadaism, collage and objectiveness. The main focus of his artistic work is usually the critical presentation and cynical annotation of day-to-day situations, consumption patterns and politics.

Encounters with his artwork often evoke amusement and mirth. His art is fun and “food for life” in every respect.“Being able to create my very own hotel room has been a great privilege for me as an artist. The moment when you see the realisation of your visions come true is very special, especially when you see that your ideas actually work out.” For 18arts, the Hessian-born has designed “The Wall Room” with original pieces from the former GDR and in cooperation with the owner of the hotel, whose father was born in Leipzig.

Wall Room

My artistic approach was to carry the eastern part of Germany towards Cologne, a very typical western city, as it were, in order to secure the evidence and to prevent things from vanishing. When I saw “my” room for the very first time, it was completely empty and the long wall just sprang out to me as being the principal topic. Consequently, I designed furniture that suits the room situation and fulfils the requirements of a hotel room. Furthermore, I added a number of original artefacts from the life of the former GDR, creating a workers` residence with all the amenities of a first class four star hotel.

That produced a very interesting contrast, which inspired me throughout the entire realization process, because one thing was absolutely clear no matter what: the hotel guest is supposed to feel comfortable in the room. As a result, the colour scheme of the bed for instance, as well as the authenticity of the artefacts reduces the hardscape of the walls` surface texture. A number of the artefacts only appeared during the course of the implementation phase so that the room design literally surpassed itself.The Wall Room is my attempt as a “Wessi” to put both my enthusiasm and my astonishment about the former GDR and everything that has already vanished with it into the concept of this room. This attempt is certainly biased and does not qualify as being competent. However, it is a contribution – my contribution – to the unification, the growing together and mutual understanding.