Jason Kofke – U.S. – Visual art and Installations/Performance
Jason Kofke understands a culture through images of what has been abandoned, discarded, or abrogated. He uses art as salvage ethnography to attribute meaning to events and artifacts of the past. His projects empathize with communal historical experiences and attempt to make sense of the present through a re-exploration of a common history.
Kofke is a recipient of a 2015 ELEVATE (Atlanta) Award, a 2011 Artadia Grant and a 2009 Idea Capital Grant. He has been awarded residencies at The Canadian Wilderness Residency Program in Yukon, Canada, The Creative Project in Atlanta, Georgia, The Arctic Circle Project in Svalbard, Norway, Milkwood Residency in the Czech Republic, ARCUS Project in Japan, Odysseys Residency in Costa Rica, Long Stories Project in Perm, Russia, ArtPrint Residence in Barcelona, Spain, Living Walls Conference in Atlanta, USA, the China Academy of Art in Hangzhou, China, and the Elizabeth Foundation in New York City.
Kofke’s work has been exhibited at the A4 Center for Contemporary Asian Art, Sydney, Australia, the HIGH Museum of Art in Atlanta, the Telfair Museum in Savannah, GA,, FLUX projects in Atlanta, Kai Lin Gallery in Atlanta, The Elizabeth Foundation in NYC, Fuse Gallery, NYC, The Gallery of China Academy of Art in Hangzhou, China, Arthouse Gallery in Brooklyn, NYC, ARCUS Studio in Moriya, Japan, Artspace Gallery in Richmond, VA, and RED Gallery in Savannah GA.
He earned his BFA in 2005 and MFA in 2010 from The Savannah College of Art and Design as well as a Visiting Scholar Recognition from the China Academy of Art. Though Kofke’s studio is based in Manhattan, he travels frequently for residency programs and photography expeditions abroad.
Kofke work statements for The ROAD as a ritual:
Title: ‘Apart and Together Again’
A city along a physical road is also a city along a temporal road – changing with policies and politics and human decisions over time. We know of the nearby ancient city of Nicopolis ad Istrum because it is full of artifacts; exchanges between humans are turned into materials and through this rediscovered material over a long period of time, we know this empty place as being once a place full of life.
This school in the town of Gorna Lipnitsa is also a place once full of life. But now, the books, the records, the objects, the images, the notes that are discovered become artifacts; the day-to-day material of life sits in this site as relics that are rediscovered. Simply by viewing them and seeing them as new, the memories preserved in these rooms as materials are given life once more. Despite being moribund and unnecessary, these materials are fragile and precious and rare and worth great effort to understand.
To be careful with the past is to know the past: Know people who live now and learn from them. Teach them. Talk to them.
Archeology is an interesting science. Folklore tells entertaining stories, tradition provides a sense of direction and self. But relics are static, stories are fiction, memories are subject to invented narratives and artifacts are dead. To bridge a gap between generations of humans old and young is perhaps the only way to make the best possible future. Those of us still living are material for each other. We are each other’s channels through time. The decades between children and grandparents can be rivers and mountains that keep us apart. Kids and parents and parents, build bridges. Build roads.