born in 1970 in Frankfurt. Since 1990, lives and works in Paris

Jan Kopp
Vos mots (détail), 1998,
white helvetica text on plexiglas panels
fixed to the steps of the footbridge at the railway station.
(photography Q.Bertoux)

Vos mots ... (Your Words)
Jan Kopp's main (but not his only) areas of intervention are urban space and the Web. Both are both potentially public spaces in which exchange can occur between strangers. Kopp's urban interventions are defined on the basis of an analysis of the local situation, and manifest a certain preference for waste land. Such sites may temporarily become home to flowering poppies (Ivry-sur-Seine in 1993 and the Potsdamer Platz, Berlin, in 1994) or can be used to make an inventory of all the things that grow there spontaneously or are introduced from outside - that is to say vegetation and various forms of detritus brought by man and by the wind (intervention in Metz in 1997 with the Lorraine FRAC). Usually, Kopp starts with the little details around us, little events which we ignore, what is there but does not expect to be noticed. For him, these are the starting points for a series of modifications, of reconfigurations towards an intervention that is designed to be set once again in urban spaces (visible projection at night in a café on Place Saint Sulpice, Paris, in June 1996, or Vos mots in Enghien).

the work for Enghien :
Nearly at eye level (on the way up the steps or fetching up at the jetty), passers-by and pedal boat users will find words and phrases that come across as the fragments of a story that is both individual and shared by large numbers of us. "The project began with a sort of collecting of words. Every phrase I found was photographed and transcribed, as I broke the sentences down into words. The exhibited text is constructed with only those particular words. Writing and found expressions are the basic material for this piece of work. And while this is almost documentary in nature, the expressions do feed into a fiction that introduces an outside gaze, that of the author. The two places chosen for the installation (a few steps on the bridge over the railway and along the jetty) underline the fact that this is a story that was built up using a vocabulary found in the public space, and that tries to touch those people who could easily have provided this vocabulary. The two places and the arrangement of the panels give the text the character of a secret message, a coded message (which, originally, was the quality of the recuperated message), like snatches of words on paper or enigmatic graffiti." (Jan Kopp)

Ici, les dieux d'Homer cherchent
Les mères âcres et les putains impeccables.
Les femmes, meufs et filles,
Les garçons et mecs.
Les chiens sérieux et le chat rouge.
Les nains de la cave,
Le fasciste individuel avec le petit punk.
L'artiste de justice,
Le champion de section et
Le profiteur du répondeur.
No gang, no swarm, no clan,
Pas de patrouille, pas d'armée vaincra
Le monde entre bureau et gare
L'état calme mis dans les quartiers où
Le centre d'immeuble reposa au nord
L'entree en cul de bac, avec
Les WC (pas les chiottes) ensoleillés
Le parquet zebio français
Le téléphone cami kabyle
Et tjs des jeunes signes fragiles aux murs,
Service d'info avec pas mal de fautes
Denis le saint d'Argenteuil,
Djelloul, le cesar de Sarcelles et Julie, la future de Laurent en Israël,
Prennent les bains d'Enghien :
Pour dégager le jamais vu,
Pour afficher le joli body,
Pour chercher la longue force.
Zero alerte à domicile, que du rago!
Là, Natasha aime bientôt Spike,
Le Rugby Superm. du York,
Celui que ma France traite de toxico, barjo.
Avec son ton dure :
Oh, j'aimerais vivre 630 000 ans en 3mn!
Repondez vite, les frères, soeurs et camerades


Description : words painted in white on panels of vertically fixed Plexiglas.

Localisation : on the steps of the bridge over the railway by the SNCF railway station, and on the edge of the jetty. This part of the work is visible only by day and from the lake (boat, pedal boat). On the steps: permanent public access, visibility by day and by night.