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André Thomkins
1930–1985

The Swiss artist André Thomkins ranks among the most extraordinary artistic positions of the postwar era. Living in Germany since 1952, he creates – blessed with an exuberant inventiveness and the juvenile wish to become an »architect for fantastic buildings« – an œuvre that in its diversity resists art-historical classification.

Inspired by Surrealism, DADA and Pittura Metafisica, by artists such as Paul Klee, Max Ernst or Marcel Duchamp, he produces quite traditionally paintings, innumerable drawings and watercolours, but besides objects made of everyday trouvailles such as rubber bands, buttons, newspaper cuttings or food. In addition, starting in the mid-1950s, Thomkins develops his own artistic techniques placing him close to contemporary Art Informel and Abstract Expressionism:
His so-called Lackskins are made by dripping lacquer paint onto a layer of water and changing the resulting constellation by blowing and using wooden sticks until a pleasing state has been found. This image floating on water is transfered onto a paper surface. The Rollage is created by unrolling a rubber roller covered with paint and glue onto a sheet of paper and working on the still moist colour ground; an associative title provides orientation in terms of it's content.
As for the Scharniere, he applied a lacquer thread to one half of a folded sheet, which is – like a sort of Rohrschach image – symmetrically imprinted on the other half when folded.

Essential component of the work of Thomkins are the linguistic art works and a playful handling of language in general, which characterises not least his work titles often humorous by association. He disposed of a network of close friends, including the Fluxus artists Dieter Roth, Daniel Spoerri and Robert Filliou as well as Jean Tinguely and Bernhard Luginbühl. 1971–1974 Professorship at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf; Documenta participant in 1972 and 1977; Member of the Berlin Akademie der Künste since 1978, a memorial exhibition was held there for him in 1989; more recently major survey »André Thomkins. Eternal Network« at the Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein in 2013/14 and currently presentation at Sammlung Scharf-Gerstenberg, Berlin, March to July 2022.

On the occasion of Gallery Weekend Berlin, Kunsthandel Wolfgang Werner exhibits paintings, drawings, watercolours, Lackskins, Rollagen, Scharniere, rapport patterns, pantograph drawings and paraphrases dating from 1948 to 1982, thus providing a comprehensive insight into the inventive world of words and images of the artist André Thomkins

Exhibition in Berlin: April 29, – June 18, 2022


André Thomkins
Lackskins and an oil painting
Catalogue 2010


André Thomkins
Drawings, Watercolours, Collages, Objects
Catalogue 2000