AVAILABLE MATERIAL OF THE NECESSARY TIME
It was my first time in the studio/home (or home/studio) of Jonas Lipps. I was certain of entering a living condition in which the artist proceeds in total harmony with the work. I imagined as much not only because Jonas Lipps lives in the spaces where he produces his works, but also because it could not be otherwise, given the psychological component that goes into his operation, along with the element of time, his time, as the condition in which sketches, projects, images and definitive works take form. The factors with which to organize an interpretation of Lipps’s work are found at multiple starting points. Certainly the process of recognition of the final moment proceeds through a long, precise effort of accumulation of material, which is the intermediate space between the various phases of growth of the idea. Dozens and dozens of elements move in this space, different forms make up the material on which Lipps acts, through drawing or other methods. The watercolors – numerous, produced quickly, with immediacy – represent the preparation, a sort of hourglass for the artist; drawing and seeing, in that very moment, the refinement of definition of an idea that does not necessarily coincide with what the final work will be, that may still be circumscribed, invisible. What reaches us is the representation of a psychological process that has been activated, the drawing as a frame in a much bigger film, a story it seems to narrate of the first drawings of Barnett Newman, the entire output of Michaela Eichwald, but also literature, cinema, philosophy, i.e. the comfortable (in the sense of spacious) formative and intellectual mirror of the artist that is transformed into images and objects. Jonas Lipps works, we were saying, starting with time as a concrete space between thought and realization, and with the accumulation of elements as the possibility of growth of the work. A work that does not want to remain in a stable state, but urges movement and the possibility of an interpretation that shifts the process of assimilation toward more definite positions in which the observer takes over the work and makes it his own. Movement is also the symbol that gives life to the series of works in which the artist has collected – over a time span of about two years – flyers of movers and transport companies. They are displayed as a series of works made with a minimum, cooled-down gesture: delicately glued onto pastel construction paper. Here too, as in the watercolors, the work is rigorously shown without a frame, almost as if to emphasize its basic simplicity, the human and humanistic possibility of the artistic gesture. No further aesthetic concession, but an approach that is conceptual (though poetic) in its reference and its cultural consequence. Once again, we can sense the urgency of gathering material as the element of activation of a process of knowledge and reference, of a time seen as space of development of an intellectual image that only later will be translated into physical image. The iconographic references inside the work of Lipps are very elusive (alternating abstract signs and quick, light figuration), and the certainty of the interpretation is anything but obvious and granted. Everything moves as if on a large stage where the props continuously change to support the performance, the work, the center of the story, but at the same time the flight from it, from its centrality. A mosaic composed of details, in which a castle of clues takes form through photographs, drawings, sculptures; minimum but recognizable interventions. Passion und dilemma was the title of a brilliant essay by Anke Kempkes on Kai Althoff in 2002. The animation of things through sincere elements with respect to what fills us with passion, and the dilemma of the staging, of a compositional theatrical practice that through gesture, expressive enlivenment, leaves an ample margin of autonomy to the unknown, in the hope that nothing will ever seem predictable or commonplace. In this sense, Lipps implements a similar process, the will is completely relative in the control of what will be the final result, the operation could also spin out of control, from a certain moment on it seems as if the artist has given up on the idea of programming, allowing the unknown of the result to take over, to define the activated process.
GIGIOTTO DEL VECCHIO