André Thomkins belongs to the most versatile Swiss artists of the 20th century. One of his most self-willed inventions is the Lackskins: A way of painting with liquid paint on water. The Bündner Kunstmuseum is devoting this body of work a comprehensive exhibition and opens up a new approach to this fascinating œuvre.
André Thomkins (1930-1985) is known as a superb draughtsman and word artist. Like no other he mastered all the classical image media. At the same time, however, he also experimented with different techniques and materials. In the middle 1950s, for example, he developed his Lackskins, in which he painted and drew on water with lacquer paint, and created pictures of enormous imaginative impact. The lacquer falls as drops or runs in a string onto the water and forms a skin, which continuously changes and at the same time can be manipulated. At a certain point Thomkins fixed the movement by lifting off the floating image onto a piece of paper. In this way the Lackskins offer themselves to both chance and artistic exploration. They require patience and willingness on the part of both the artist and the viewer, to take in the play of forms created by the paint and to discover the rich world of images therein.
With his Lackskins André Thomkins drew on old techniques such as the manufacture of marble paper and then expanded on these. During the heyday of abstract painting he concurrently found his own way and created links to the discussions among the artistic avant-garde of his time. For the first time ever, this magnificent body of work is shown in a comprehensive way in an exhibition. It reveals the surprisingly numerous facets of André Thomkins’ art and opens up a new approach to this fascinating œuvre. “Seen geographically”, said André Thomkins, “Lackskin floats just off the land of milk and honey…”
The exhibition is being organised in collaboration with the estate of the artist at the Kunstmuseum Lichtenstein, where a large Thomkins-retrospective is being prepared for 2013.
Opening: Friday, May 24, 2012, at 6 pm
Reception and Introduction: Stephan Kunz, Director Bündner Kunstmuseum
André Thomkins. Lackskins, edited by Stephan Kunz and Dagmar Streckel, with an introduction by Stephan Kunz and texts by André Thomkins, Daniel Spoerri and Carlheinz Caspari, Scheidegger & Spiess, 2012, 160 pages, approx. 110 illustrations in colour