André Thomkins


24 August - 12 October 2002


André Thomkins (1930-1985), born in Lucerne, Switzerland, is among the most important Swiss artists of the second half of the 20th century. He has, however, remained an artists’ artist, known only to a few insiders, though enjoying a high reputation among fellow artists such as Daniel Spoerri, Dieter Roth, George Brecht or Karl Gerstner. His wide-ranging interests spanned surrealism and the dada movement as well as the works and ideas of Paul Klee and Kandinsky, and his knowledge of parapsychology, utopian town planning, philosophy and literature is reflected in the versatility of his work. André Thomkins’s extraordinary and multi-faceted œuvre is filled with mysterious allusions and subtle irony. His ambiguity is a source of endless fascination, while refusing any attempt at art-historical categorisation. Thomkins’s work ranges from mostly small-scale pencil and ink drawings and watercolours to painting, object and sculpture. In his search for adequate expressions of his boundless imagination and fondness of experimentation, he developed his own painting techniques (“Lackskins” [paint skins], “Rollagen” [‘rollages’] or “Scharniere” [hinges, related of the images produced in Rorschach tests]) and forms of pictorial representation (“Rapportmuster” [report patterns]). He also ventured into new iconographies (“Knopfei” [button egg]) and invented innumerable textual figures in the form of palindromes or anagrams.

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