Artwork of the month May

André Thomkins, Astronauten, 1962

André Thomkins

* 1930 in Luzern, † 1985 in West-Berlin

Astronauten, 1962

Lackskin on paper
50 x 51,5 cm

KML 05.44

This Lackskin work represents a technique that André Thomkins mastered and trans- formed into a great art. He filled a tub with water and poured lacquer onto the surface, manipulating the floating layer in various ways – spreading it out, making holes in it, superimposing layers, etc. He then pulled the finished picture off onto sheets of paper. The entire procedure had to be executed at speed because the lacquer dries so quickly. In addition there was a great risk of destroying the picture in the process of transferring it to paper.

Astronauten (Astronauts) is the title of a series of similar pictures that Thomkins made when he first started developing his lackskin technique. The title stems from the curious little figurines that seem to be wearing helmets and moving about in cloudy or spherical worlds. They call to mind Yuri Gagarin, the first human being to venture into outer space in 1961 – a trailblazing event that inspired countless artists and writers. Thomkins is no exception; he returned to that subject matter time and again, perhaps in a continuation of his early work which specifically explored a central feature of outer space, namely float- ing. His drawings of the 1950s often feature a figure that he called a "schwebsel" , a float- ing soul. And when asked where he preferred to live, he would reply, "Anywhere, but floating."  

<b>André Thomkins, Astronauten, 1962</b>
Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein highlights a work from the permanent collection each month throughout the year. Works from the collection of the Hilti Art Foundation are also included in this series on a regular basis.