Dec 9, 2021 - Jan 21, 2022

60 Lispenard Street

P: 212 925 4631

New York, NY

Robert Janitz: Library of a Dream


Installation view of Robert Janitz Library of a Dream

Canada is pleased to present Library of a Dream, Robert Janitz’s second solo exhibition with the gallery. The centerpiece of the show is formed by a series of five vertical paintings that together become one horizontal work. The subject of the painting, if that term applies, are long strokes of color that clash against or blend into rainbow-like grounds. The dark calligraphic strokes are ambiguous as to what, if anything, they portray. Viewers familiar with Janitz’s paintings will notice several new components. The gradients now fade from the left to right instead of from top to bottom and a new illusionistic facet has emerged: the depiction of three-dimensional openings at the end of gestural strokes that seemingly turn the long painterly strokes into bendy pipes.

The illusion serves to complicate the reading of the work. Janitz uses a squeegee to remove wet paint, resulting in a mark with almost no physical heft. He undercuts this painted reality by adding shadows to depict volumes that don’t exist. The show also features the varied output of Janitz’s studio and includes a sculpture, and portrait format painting, (which he refers to as a volcano) and a painting of two torqued slabs. Janitz’s insistence on variety problematizes the imagery, denying us the confidence of understanding the paintings, as in a dream. Freud considered dreams to be wishes; wishes presented to the dreamer in a coded form so the dreamer will accept them. What better place to dream than in a studio or library? Janitz presents this library as a repository of language that is ordered and processed but also slightly beyond comprehension or control.

Through color that is hazy and saturated, we can imagine the

paintings as a series of bookshelves, or perhaps, as musical notation. The architectonic letterforms that fill the paintings feel like the spines of books waiting to be pulled and opened. The books slouch and recline, as if they were casually tossed onto a pile by a distracted reader lost in thought. This is a working library. Looking through the structure, we are allowed to see atmosphere behind. The flow of color, traversing the surfaces like text on a page, gives the painting temporal rhythm, as if the process of reading is somehow depicted in the gradients and smudgy glyphs. Like drifting off with book in hand, we find ourselves suspended between language and image, between concrete reality and the unconscious.

Robert Janitz (b. 1962 in Alsfeld, DE) lives and works in Mexico City and NY. Recent solo exhibitions of Janitz’s work include Best of All Worlds (2021) (curated by Gianni Jetzer), Casa Gilardi, Mexico City, The Labyrinth (2021), Sevil Dolmaci Gallery, Istanbul, <3 ist ein Tippfehler (2020), KÖNIG GALERIE, Berlin, and Change in Paradise (2019), KÖNIG LONDON, London. Janitz’s work has been included in a number of recent important group exhibitions, some of these include: Ceramica Suro, MAZ Museo Guadalajara, Mexico (2021-22), Units (2021) (curated by Christian Camacho), PEANA, Monterrey, Mexico, and Frozen Gesture (2019), Kunstmuseum Winterthur, Winterthur, Switzerland. From 1982 until 1988, he studied Ethnology, Comparative Religion, Indology, and Art History at Philipps Universität Marburg in Germany. Janitz’s works are held in private and institutional collections world-wide and his practice has been the subject of numerous reviews and features in various international art publications.


Installation view of Robert Janitz Library of a Dream


Installation view of Robert Janitz Library of a Dream


Installation view of Robert Janitz Library of a Dream

Spoiler Alert, 2018
Oil, wax, flour on linen
25 × 20 in. 

Mauna Loa, 2021
Oil, wax, flour on linen
80 × 60 in. 


Photo of Robert Janitz in his studio. Photo by Marquale Ashley, 2021.

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, 2021
Oil, wax, flour on linen
86 × 66 in.

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg 2, 2021
Oil, wax, flour on linen
86 × 66 in.

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg 3, 2021
Oil, wax, flour on linen
86 × 66 in.

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg 4, 2021
Oil, wax, flour on linen
86 × 66 in.


The Umbrellas of Cherbourg 5, 2021
Oil, wax, flour on linen
86 × 66 in.


Inside Janitz's Brooklyn, NY studio. Photo by Marquale Ashley, 2021.

Fountain of Youth, 2021
Aluminum, corrugated plastic, wood, and acrylic
80 × 80 × 67  in.

Tijuana Moods, 2021
Oil, flour, wax on linen
80 × 60  in.

The Life of a Bivalve, 2021
Oil, wax, flour, on linen
24 × 20  in.

Fantasy is my Travel Agent, 2021
Oil, wax, flour on linen
80 × 60  in.

Robert Janitz: Made In New York, 2020-2010
144 pages
Hardcover, 23.5 x 29 cm
€ 40 / $ 45

Co-published by Canada, New York and König Galerie, Berlin.
Edited by Wallace Whitney with essay by Suzanne Hudson and interview by Catherine Taft
Distributed by DISTANZ

Order here


Selected Works

Dream SpeakRachel Eulena Williams

ZzyzxChristina Sucgang

HomesickSadie Laska

Promised LightLuke Murphy

ReadersKiyoshi Tsuchiya

ComeCloseJoan Snyder

NocturnesAnke Weyer

Arms and the SeaKatherine Bradford

Objet OuttaKen Resseger

Last LandscapesGerald Ferguson

Leroy's LuncheonAzikiwe Mohammed

Frisson CityLee Relvas

Reassembler 3Brian Belott

A Ball is for ThrowingElizabeth McIntosh

Ambient MusicLee Mary Manning

TORSOAnnabeth Marks

BiscuitLyric Shen

Body ForthMatt Connors

A Cliff to ClimbRyan Preciado

Library of a DreamRobert Janitz

Gold GoldRJ Messineo

On ValentinesSpencer Lewis

Who is afraid of Natasha?Joanna Malinowska & CT Jasper

USMichael Mahalchick


The Thick StreamGroup Exhibition

5 SeasonsJason Fox

Mother PaintingsKatherine Bradford

Ceramics and PrintsElisabeth Kley

Black Femme: Sovereign of WAP and the Virtual Realm curated by Christiana Ine-Kimba Boyle

#VayaConDiosKatherine Bernhardt

DrawingsJason Fox

Heart, HeartAnke Weyer

Tracing MemoryRachel Eulena Williams

Rayos De SombraRobert Janitz

GorpTyson Reeder

EREHWONSadie Laska