Nature and landscape have forever been the most demanding themes in art, and more specifically within artistic creation. Man’s relationship to nature always means with, against, beyond, in, outside or above nature.
Our experience and perception of nature are marked by opposing terms, such as order - chaos, security - hostility, inclusion - exclusion, rapproachement - rejection, microcosm - macrocosm, to name just a few. During the late Middle Ages, as nature started to appear in the backgrounds of paintings, it became a symbol of promise or sorrow. Nature provides, but strenuous paths lead through it. A persistent desire to resolve these contradictions has forever been impetus and motivation for artistically examining nature.
Jean-Luc Koenig tries to place himself through his photographic portraits into nature- embedded, exposed, fleeing,creature-like. They reveal a civilized man’s attempt at homecoming, not naturally nude, but bare, driven by a desire for self-abandonment, capturing archaic moments of longing. The chosen natural locations are free of simplifiedromanticism, and instead reveal nature in its plain, pure, primitive state.
Nature is a symbol of transience, a vanitas motif in itself. While nature can only be encountered directly, the work of the artist shows us a full scope of unbroken artistic endeavour to oppose transience and to capture and hold on to individual moments.
Jean Luc Koenig is a Luxembourgish photographer, born in winter 63, who works as a graphic designer. His art has been shown in Luxembourg, Germany, France, Belgium, Scandinavia and the USA. Jean Luc’s work is very varied, often mixing techniques, such as painting, installation and, of course, photography. His range of work includes experimental photography, pinhole cameras (sténopé, caméra obscura), as well as all analog photo techniques. His work can be found in many collections and publications, amongst others the ‘Polaroid Collection’.
The self-portrait, a recurring theme in art since early man, is one that Jean Luc likes to take up again and again. He considers cave paintings, depicting hands painted on rock, as early self-portraits. “Man is part of nature, and of the cycle of life… contrary to the opinion that nature is a part of man!” Stone is another fascinating theme to Jean Luc Koenig, be it in the shape of a Yucatan temple, or of a menhir in Brittany.
Jean Luc considers himself a pessimistic optimist, whose motto is: One should laugh at least once a day and walk through the woods barefoot to reactivate one’s numbed senses.