Visual arts

Jan Kopp

When I arrive in a city I don’t know, I try to understand it through its geography. I explore it as a potential venue for action.

Jan Kopp, a videographer, designer and sculptor, shares his vision of territoriality and the city through his projects – seen as both an architectural complex and a place of exchange. A culture of interaction that he puts into practice with his audience.

Updated on 14/01/2020

2 min

Born in 1970 in Frankfurt, Germany, Jan Kopp graduated from the Paris School of Fine Arts of Paris in 1996. He then founded an association gallery, Glassbox, and in 1999 became a co-founder member of the Nomads and Residents collective in New York.

With an equal passion for drawing, sound, sculpture and video, Jan Kopp performs and is exhibited in numerous museums and art centres, including the Centre Georges Pompidou, la Criée, in Rennes and the Abbaye de Maubuisson.

His fondness for the collective and broadcasting underlying his work is also reflected in his involvement with Suspended Spaces, which brings together researchers and artists from all over the world, and in his teaching activities at the Clermont Métropole Higher School of Art since 2015.

While, in essence, everything in Jan Kopp’s work speaks of territories and interactions between individuals and urban spaces, Jan Kopp rejects any formal specialisation. The artist claims to use all kinds of media and materials, through monumental installations or more intimate exhibitions, and always encourages public action.

Thus, for “Soulever le monde” (“Lifting the World”, 2015), he installed a monumental structure in the Children's Gallery at the Centre Pompidou, suspended and structured around pulleys, weights and mobiles. By inviting young visitors to manipulate elements, he encourages them to position themselves, both individually and collectively, as actors in a process, such as performing a work in constant transformation.

A native German living in France, the United States, Brazil and Luxembourg, and having exhibited in numerous art venues around the world, Jan Kopp has always been committed to creative roaming. But it is definitely through his involvement with Suspended Spaces – which he helped found in 2007 – that his work takes on its full international dimension. Within the collective he conducts a reflection on the territories, throughout the world, which are “on hold” for political, economic and historical reasons. It co-organizes colloquia and residencies in Cyprus, Beirut and Brazil, and participates in numerous exhibitions modelled on “reports”: “Niemayer 4 Ever” in Lebanon, “Sair do Livro” in Coimbra and “Switch On!” at the Palacio Pombal in Lisbon. These are all opportunities to explore the history of a neglected site and offer an artistic perspective on its current situation and possible future.

  • 1999


    Winner of numerous residency programmes, Jan Kopp joins the MoMa PS1 programme in New York, USA.

  • 2015


    He is the winner of the Hors les Murs residency programme of the Institut français in Brazil.

  • 2016


    Launch of the adventure “Utopia House”, a four-year roaming project between Mulhouse and Lyon on board a floating, navigable and habitable sculpture.

  • 2019


    In “Chronique du trouble” (“Chronical of Trouble” at the Gallery Les Filles du Calvaire), he offers an installation on the theme of time and what could imperceptibly shake up its course.

The Institut français and the artist

Winner of the Hors les murs residency programme (now Sur Mesure programme), Jan Kopp stayed in Brazil in 2014.  Find out more about the Résidences Sur Mesure programme

L'institut français, LAB