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PATTERN RECOGNITION: THE ART OF SERGEJ JENSEN

IF “PAINTING” TODAY refers less to material or object than to practice and action, then Denmark-born, Berlin-based Sergej Jensen is a painter. His description of his medium as “painting without paint” suggests that we should forsake an emphasis on the surfaces on and with which he works—burlap, linen, jute, wool, silk, denim—and attend instead to what he does to these textiles: He spreads them over stretchers; sews or irons patches and other fabric remnants onto them; and bleaches, stains, and dyes them, usually with abstract geometric marks and almost always in subdued neutrals or the secondary and tertiary spokes of the color wheel. Minimally worked, his paintings affirm a radical thrift of gesture, frequently incorporating reaches of empty space and faint, aleatory markings such as stains or smudges of soot. ( Jensen says that he spent a lot of time staring at the ceiling as a sickly

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