A series of 2-part square Ogrody-green paintings mostly in the formats 2.50 x 2.50 m, which were each painted after the presentation of real, mostly Ottonian crucifixes.
From a speech for the Vernissage in the St. Lamberti church, Oldenburg, 1998:
The pictures, inventory Two large altarpieces depict the dead Christ on 250 x 250 cm. Technique: Ogrody on canvas with green inks, partially sprayed on the ground.
And then those green pictures, Ogrody. Since 1993, they are a patent of the artist, registered since July 1998, Green, black and white ink on canvas. The color is used only in homeopathic doses, says Gassmann, and only at special times. These pictures do not seem to be everyday business. Since January of this year, a green picture of Christ has been hanging in the Neustädter Hof- und Stadtkirche St. Johannis in Hanover.
The image of Christ
In the pictures shown here, the figure of Christ appears floating, sliding and flat. It catches its labile, soft form in the eye. The extremities appear in the color and again. His head is tilted, his torso bent and his feet standing slightly side by side. The contours of the light-shadow figure are fluid. There is no cross, nor assistance figures. The picture indicates no ground, no sky, no earth. The Christ is pure in this surface, in front of this surface. The style, the painting technique becomes here the medium of understanding. Its surface texture monochrome green is reminiscent of planetary, fossil, cratered, in a Sehmöglichkeit, which can emanate from the own environment to the universe. A green like the blue of Yves Kein. “IKB” – International Klein Blue – Patented as well, the wafer-thin glazes of the inks go from black to green, to white, to green in the green – black is the deepest layer and light is the supreme – Gassmann works from the bottom up in the negative. Procedure Like Picasso in his lithograph to “Toros y Toreros”. In this Lithographenflächigkeit creates a large transparency and permeability. I think of Sedlmayr as speaking in the architecture of the gothic cathedral of “Diaphanic structure,” the translucent and the transparent, giving the Christ figure a greatness in infinity.There is a oneness and a fusion with the primordial ground. “William Turner speaks Admiring Rembrandt’s paintings of the “mystic shell of colors”. I also see such a mystical color hull, maybe a color ground here.
Jacques Gassmann renounces the essential sign of the cross. He removes the Christ figure from the cross, which is to be taken literally here: his archetypes are very specific Ottonian, Gothic and contemporary crucifixes.
Looking at the postures, the embracing slipping, I think of the descent from Antelami in the Cathedral of Parma. As the hand of the descending right arm lies upon the head of Mary, led by the angel, and received as the burden of the body of Nikedemus.
In the light of the dimness of the corpus, I think of the Pietá Rondanini, Michelangelo’s last work. As, according to the muscular athletic figures, this narrow figure of Christ, in its physical consistency, now expresses the idea of Christ before the womb of the mother.
In my thoughts I follow a comparison to the works of Arnulf Rainer. Arnulf Rainer selects a very specific crucifix, highly revered as a cult image, the Gero crucifix and the one from St. Georg in Cologne. He overpaints him, maltreats him, dethrones him and thus makes a second passion. This is a breathtaking opportunity to portray the Passion today and arguable.
Jacques Gassmann is different. He chooses a crucifix whose identification becomes almost secondary, removes it from its material and media context and designs it from the bottom up. So no deal with a certain image of Christ and no overpainting is made by the artist. In the first, the figure of Christ seems to be dissolving. The contours are interwoven with the ground. The inner surface also interweaves with the ground. I think of the non finito, the unfinished in fine art. To Schubert’s “unfinished,” to Michelangelo’s nonfiniti, to Rodin, to everything fragmentary, which is nonetheless perfected because the idea of the work is complete.) Ogrody means garden in Polish in the singular as well as in the plural: Gassmann requisitioned this term as a technique In the sacred and the profane, one can grasp the extent of the term garden in equal measure, horizontally and vertically.
Green means life and is the oldest symbol color, not only in the ecclesiastical context. I understand the color through the medium and through this decidedly technical technique, the artistic process, the statement; de