Jan Grau (1977)  is a multidisciplinary artist who plays with the traditional boundaries of photography, installation and painting in order to create an universal improved media. His main research objects are memory and empehemerality with a slight touch of social critique.

In his latest works, Grau uses everyday moments photographed with a smartphone and executes the selected photos as paintings. His goal is to analyse the relationship between photographic art and painting in the digital age, which is characterized by the madness (or abundance) of spontaneous photos shared on social media. Grau reflects on the present-day “photo” as an ephemeral triumph. Every day, the world produces millions of photos of what we eat, what we wear, and these photos have lost their deeper meaning or moral. And most photo clicks never materialize physically.

Paintings and installations from the "Dilemma" series, 2015-2016
In his latest series Grau reflects on the theories (espoused primarily by Roland Barthes and Walter Benjamin) of photography as an artistic genre that threatens to topple painting, which is at the top of hierarchy, from its throne. Now, in the 21th century he sees the opposite tendency and to prove it, he records his ephemeral mobile clicks in the permanent idiom of painting. He also points out that photos do not express an artist’s emotions or capture the “unrecorded something” that remains outside a photographable picture. He adds personal feelings and thoughts to his photos and, by combining photography and painting, tries to develop an all-powerful and universal medium.

The Dilemma series is comprised of large-scale paintings, photos and conceptual installations. In the installations called Forgotten Memories and White Noise, he used the photos that had been discarded from museum photo collections, and found their demise through a paper shredder. Thus, he alludes to photography as a carrier of memories, which in certain situations can be an ephemeral and temporary phenomenon, but to which art can give a new and long life as well as multi-layered meaning.