I was told to go with the flow



Installation: punting barge, labeled transport boxes, 250 × 1000 × 160 cm
Video: (work in progress), colour, sound

Jankowski created a new work that taps into the domain of life coaching. In relation to neoliberal ideas of positive thinking and success – as part of which artists might be seen as service providers – he calls into question the straitened conditions for self-evaluation. The suffering artist, no longer romanticized, cuts an absurd figure.

Getting close to the opening, Jankowski was seen floating down the picturesque river Neckar at the helm of a Stocherkahn, a charming wooden punt that promises a carefree day out in Tübingen. With effort, he propels the slender vessel forward by pushing a pole against the riverbed. It is at risk of
capsizing, overloaded with crates in which artworks had been packed up for shipping to the Kunsthalle.

Besides being labeled with artwork information and handling instructions, the crates are embellished with a series of titles from self-help books. What Got You Here Won’t Get You There – a bestseller
for ‘successful people’ – had been recommended by Jankowski’s gallerist, Nicholas Logsdail, during a conversation about the shape of his career. Intrigued, Jankowski started reading, finding inspiration for self-reflection and for a new work. Delving further into the genre of personal development, the artist put
together a reading list from the library of his mother’s late partner, who had been a frequent source of advice. Die Kunst, ohne Angst zu Leben (The Art of Living without Fear); Die Kunst, ein Egoist zu sein: Das Abenteuer glücklich zu leben, auch wenn es anderen nicht gefällt (How to Be an Egoist: The Adventure of Being Happy Even When Other People Don’t Like It); The 8 Laws of Leadership;
The Language of Letting Go: Daily Meditations for Codependency. Rendered in a bouquet of vintage graphic styles, the accumulation of titles points to a quest for self-knowledge over decades.

The boat’s final destination is the Kunsthalle, where it is shown with the crates (usually out of sight in storage) and a monitor screening the journey. To the sound of flowing water, the slow movement of the vessel, manoeuvered by the artist himself, becomes a metaphor for the course of an artistic career
that develops from doubt, belief, and vulnerability. “Fragile”, “Handle with care”, “This way up”, as the labels warn.

The immersive installation stranded in the exhibition invites the viewer to consider the influences of art and language on their life situation and the fantasy of a better self.