When I was a child, I wanted to be an alchemist.
Alchemists tried to discover the secret orders of the universe. Curiosities and relics of their knowledge were collected in the Renaissance Wunderkammer, because it was believed that all the knowledge, all the magic and beauty of creation could be combined in one place to reveal the essence of the world. This lovely idea inspires me in my artistic practice.
Jahna Dahm’s work is a homage to the ancient past, showing us that art is universal. Her work is about exploring a universal language that unites different eras and cultures and tells stories about the human longing for meaning. She is an artist who creates works based on her knowledge of archaeology, cultural history and art history. In her sculptures and drawings she uses only the highest quality materials, such as historic semi-precious stone pigments or 24-carat gold leaf, to create works of undeniable value. She shows her work as large-scale installations and in the context of historical collections, opening up new ways of understanding art.
Jahna Dahms (1972) was born in Cottbus, Germany. Growing up in East Germany, she seized the opportunity to study extensively and acquire a wide range of knowledge with the reunification of Germany. She studied art history, history, pre- and early history, and philosophy. She graduated from the Technical University of Dresden. Dahms went on to study fine arts at the Dresden Hochschule für Bildende Künste, attended courses in restoration while also being a visiting student at the Faculty of Architecture. She is a Meisterschüler of Eberhard Bosslet at the Dresden Hochschule für Bildende Künste. The delight of acquiring knowledge and participating in intellectual pursuits has consistently remained a fundamental element of her life.
Throughout her career, she has received a number of prestigious awards, including the Saxony state postgraduate fellowship and the Marion Ermer Prize. Her work has been exhibited at the Grünes Gewölbe in Dresden, the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, the Museum of Fine Arts in Leipzig and the Musée d’Art moderne et d’Art contemporain de Liège. She is the founding dean of the Faculty of Design at the Dresden University of Applied Sciences. There she developed the curricula of the design degree programmes as a contemporary continuation of the Bauhaus concept and taught as professor of conception and drawing. Dahms conducts scientific research on artistic concepts. She works on a definition of art in dialog with her artistic practice.
Photo by Fabian Catoni