For his second solo show in Gallery Anne Barrault, Jochen Gerner presents a set of new works, the main theme of which is the four elements, earth, air, water, fire.
True to the OuBaPien device (OuBaPo being for comic strips what OuLiPo is for novels), Jochen Gerner uses and makes his drawings on printed documents, such as picture postcards, book covers, cardboard packaging.
Thus, for the series entitled “Panorama du feu” (a view of fire), about forty comic strip booklets dating from the fifties, sixties,seventies make up the basis of the project. By working directly on their covers with India ink and inserting pictograms as in transparency, Jochen Gerner lets a battle field, at night, appear, streaked with firing and explosions, like a display screen in staff headquarters. Through this process, he examines the aesthetics of comic strips during the cold war, when the threat of a conflict regularly pervaded the media of the time.
“Panorama du froid” (a view of cold) is a set of dozens of topographical postcards, dating from the sixties to now. By covering them with acrylic paint, Jochen Gerner redesigns the simple shapes of landscapes and buildings. With a range of white colours, the landscape disappears and is replaced by geometrical ice and expanses of icebergs.
And not without a sense of humour , he presents his notebook entitled “Branchages” (branches), the pages of which were filled one by one, while he was on the phone, between 2002 and 2008.
Apparently playful and exhilarating, Jochen Gerner’s manner conceals a greatly effective and plastic paradox : by intervening on the original shapes, he reveals their design; to some extent an iconoclast, he enters into dialogue with them so much that he creates a genuine work of art. The latter, a true radioscopy, is a new development of the artist’s concern for “the infinite possibility of the links between what is written and images”, and the alchemy between text and pictures.