Jan Voss was born in Hamburg on 9 October 1936. He studied at the Munich Art Academy from 1956 to 1960. In 1966-67 Voss was a guest lecturer at the Hamburg Art Academy. He was a professor at the École Nationale Superieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris between 1987 and 1992.
Work by Jan Voss was shown at the "Kunsthalle" in Kiel in 1997 and at the "Städtische Galerie Villa Zanders" in Bergisch Gladbach in 2002. That same year he had a one-man show at Art Cologne to great critical acclaim. The theme informing Jan Voss's work is "creating order" in the midst of the perpetually moving chaos of a complex situation.
Jan Voss experiments with various different techniques and materials; there are powerfully vibrant works on canvas in saturated colour as well as quiet, narrative works that are more linear than painterly. They contrast sharply with paper reliefs made up collage-like of torn watercolours. What all Voss works, be they canvases, wood or paper reliefs or even watercolours, have in common is an accumulation of diverse colour and form elements which interlock, intersect and are interlinked by lines, drawings and fragments of drawings.
Jan Voss at first used this formal idiom for two-dimensional pictures but from the 1980s he also applied it to three-dimensional objects. Since then everything has counted that serves the process of "becoming image": crumpling, folding, tearing, sawing, nailing and glueing. Despite continual change, new pictorial inventions and explorations of material, Jan Voss has always retained an utterly distinctive style that can be mistaken for no one else's.
Jan Voss, who has lived and worked in Paris since 1960, is counted among the outstanding artists of the present day in his adopted country.