Jacques Gassmann - L’étranger
What made you start painting ?
Painting is the oldest way of expressing thoughts and stories. As a kid I wanted to become a cartoonist. So I started drawing a lot with ›fineliners‹. In high school I got to know a girl who was the daughter of Pelikans marketing chief and as they liked my drawings they sponsored me with a supply of ink in exchange for drawings. Suddenly I had this access to liters of ink I and this opened new possibilites for me: I could experiment as much as I wanted.
…and so you developed your very ownway of drawing?
Some topics seem to be fitting with a certain technique. Natural hazards for example produce a lot of unclearness through phenomena such as dust, smoke, mist, foam etc. All of these have a blurred quality which I can perfectly achieve with the medium of ink. As another example the topic of the ‘Apocalypse’ series came to me because I had found a proper technique for it: my way of drawing with ink allowed me to treat the topic of ‘vision’ without being purely illlustrative. Visions are something very immaterial and so is my way of using ink. Again there is this blurred quality which leads in his context to transcendence. This way of treating the subject of vision was also the reason for the Hans-Lillie Foundation (curated by Dr, Joachim Büchner, former director of the Museum of Modern Art in Hannover) to offer me the grant to realize the monumental Apocalypse cycle of 32 large scale pieces within two years. During the process of working on the ›Apocalypse‹ cycle I read Eduard Lohses translation of the original Greek apocalypse text and he came to my studio several times to talk about it with me. There was thus a fusion of conceptual background with the more intuitive process of drawing. Until today the quality of translucidity in my work is appreciated in the context of church and religion. This also leads to regular commisions in public spaces and churches.
What fascinates you with ink?
Ink has very specific characteristcs: it is fluid and waterlike but contains pure pigment without any of those smelly ›binding agents‹. Thus its a precious material. It allows staying in a flow Chile painting, in a way it offers the same fluidity of a process as writing with an ink pen. This made me create my very own technique which makes the specific transparent and translucent quality of ink manifest. The procedure of this technique is contradicting the academic ways of thinking and practising and is thus for the viewer not immediately comprehensible. The mystery stays within the picture.