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Exhibition at Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein rediscovers the work by André Thomkins
André Thomkins, Haus für Bewohner, 1965© 2013, ProLitteris, Zürich.
VADUZ.- André Thomkins (*1930 in Lucerne, †1985 in Berlin) was one of the most innovative and versatile artists of the latter half of the 20th century. He made a name for himself with creative artistic experiments particularly in the 1960s. But the beginnings of this practice date back to the mid-1950s. The public reception of his work began towards the end of the 1960s and was subsequently manifested in the first solo exhibitions in museums since the early 1970s. The view of his work moved away from his innovative and playfully experimental pieces to Thomkins as an illustrator. Since then, the focus of appreciation and perception fell on the more traditional aspects of his drawing. Thomkins’ experimental artistic practice had now lost its prominence.

The two-time participant in the documenta in Kassel (documenta 5/1972 and 6/1977) has been rediscovered in recent years in the context of new artistic strategies, particularly for his group of works known as Lackskins.

Everyday materials such as rubber, magazine photos and paper, foodstuffs, and found items are characteristic of his work along with traditional artistic devices and techniques. Experiments with these different materials gave rise to his humorous, fantastic works of intellectual depth and playful, associative quality – intricate in terms of subject matter and surprising.

Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein has been systematically reviewing the artist’s extensive estate since 2002. This extraordinarily voluminous collection of some 6700 works includes pieces from all stages of his work and life and gives a profound insight into Thomkins’ method of working. This comprehensive retrospective showcases his work in a new context.

André Thomkins. Eternal Network demonstrates the great importance of Thomkins the experimentalist, putting his new technical and formal developments on an equal footing with his far more well-known drawings. These include not only the groups of pictorial works, but also the works of language art and his musical experiments. Two major works created in and for actions are also brought together for the first time. In addition, the exhibition presents numerous works from the estate which have rarely if ever been on show before. For the first time, then, the exhibition allows visitors to experience the full breadth and diversity of André Thomkins’ oeuvre. The richly illustrated publication also gives new impetus with regard to the future reception of the artist. For the first time, these essays discuss in depth the role of his exploration of the ideas of Marcel Duchamp, the importance which Thomkins ascribed to the concept and development of the “Labyr”, and the combination of methods of visual and language art.

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