United States • geboren in 1930

Jasper Johns (Jasper Johns,R.May 15, 1930, Augusta, USA) – American artist, who is referred to neo-Dadaists and the conceptualists. Jones is one of the main predecessors pop art. Born and raised in South Carolina. A large part of his life in new York and the surrounding area. The most famous his works created after meeting with the artist Robert Rauschenbergand creativity Marcel Duchamp.

Features of the artist Jasper Johns: the most famous of his works are considered paintings with flags created in the encaustic technique. In addition to beeswax as bases for paints in his paintings, Jones used pieces of Newspapers, paper and fabric. In some works he combines painting and sculpture, complementing the paintings of plaster casts and constructions of wood and metal.

Famous paintings of Jasper Johns: "Flag", "Three flags", "Zero to nine", "Painted bronze (ale Cans, Ballentin)", "Device".

Jasper Johns called by the artist who forged a bridge between abstract expressionismand pop art. Although it cannot be fully attributed to any of these areas. Jones rarely gives interviews, which in this case says nothing about his personal life prefers not to discuss its methods of work and refuses to somehow decipher the meaning and value of his paintings. Interviewers who still have the honor to speak with him, you have to work hard to build from very scanty material received a decent text. However, journalists do not leave attempts to talk to the artist, whom many recognize the greatest living.

Nomadic life

The childhood of Jasper Johns at all desire it is difficult to call happy. His father left his mother when the future artist was a baby, and up to nine years he lived with my grandmother and grandfather on the paternal side. Even as a baby, Jasper realized that he likes to draw, but at that time this hobby was synonymous with the desire to one day be an artist. According to Jones, it was rather the desire for some other life different from that to which he was accustomed. The situation was complicated by the fact that then almost the only example of creativity for Jasper was a painting of his grandmother that hung on the walls: "In my childhood there was very little art. I grew up in South Carolina and did not know any artists. There was one small Museum in Charleston, which was nothing interesting local artists and paintings of birds". Few years, Jones lived with his aunt, who taught him at home, and then finally reunited with his mother, who remarried. In this period, when in the life of Jasper there was at least some stability, finally took shape and his desire to become an artist.

After three semesters at the University of South Carolina teachers began to aggressively encourage Jones to continue training in new York. He followed their advice and enrolled in the Parsons School of design. Whether this school was not very suitable for Jones, whether he managed to learn everything required, but he stayed here only for one semester. In 1951, shortly after the outbreak of war in Korea, the artist was drafted and he spent two years at military bases in South Carolina and Japan. After returning to new York, Jones is once again immersed in the Bohemian artistic life and at a party met a man, who, without exaggeration, changed his life.

Just together

Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg have much in common: they were both artists hail from the southern States, both lived in Manhattan, both pretty exhausted unbearable serious abstract expressionism that caused them to look for new ways in art and means of expression. Behind both had a military background: Jones – the war in Korea, and Rauschenberg – World and work as a nurse in the hospital. As for his personal life, Robert it was much more intense. By the time of meeting with Jasper, he managed to marry, to have children, to divorce and to stay a few months in travelling through Europe and North Africa with his then partner artist CY Twombly.

A partnership of Johns and Rauschenberg was multi-dimensional versatile. They were connected not only romance but a strong friendship and similar creative aspirations. In 1955 Rauschenberg settled in the same building in which he lived, Jones, and they saw each other every day, discussing ideas off each other and trying to strength the boundaries of art. Their creative relationship is often compared to a partnership Pablo Picassoand Georges Braqueand Rauschenberg once said that they "gave each other permission to do whatever you want". Jones in one of the rare moments of candor, recalled: "We talked a lot. Everyone was appreciative audience for the other. We discussed their work and offered each other ideas for them. You have to be pretty intimate with someone to do it, and truly understand what he's doing".

Thanks to Rauschenberg in Jones ' life there are still a few people who have influenced his work and life in General. First became close friends of Robert, the composer John cage and choreographer Merce Cunningham. All four adhered to the special creative philosophy – later critics would unite their views as "neo-Dadaism". Next was art dealer Leo Castelli, who in 1958 organized the first solo exhibition by Jones, marked the beginning of unprecedented popularity of his paintings with flags. And last, but perhaps the most important was the acquaintance with Marcel Duchamp. Thanks to Johns, Rauschenberg first saw readymades father of Dadaism, and in the same 1958, the artists went to Philadelphia to see them live. A year later, Duchamp himself showed up at the Studio Jones, finally establishing a direct link between the European avant-garde and the new generation of American modernists.

The relationship of Johns and Rauschenberg lasted seven years and, apparently, did not survive the test of fame. Triumphant first exhibition of Johns, his appearance on the cover of the magazine "Art News" and purchased three of his paintings at the Metropolitan Museum could not fail to affect the life of an artist. Sudden Jones fame caused tension between him and Rauschenberg, although already at that time, the artists rented a Studio in the suburbs of new York city and saw each other infrequently. In 1961 they finally parted. Completion of such an important, largely shaped his relationship was a serious blow for Jones, and he completely devoted himself to the work. He became reclusive, began to avoid public events, have practically ceased to give interviews and kept in constant contact with a few close friends.

Questions without answers

Jones never hung up on any particular technique, its artistic heritage can be found and work done in oil and pencil drawings, and etchings. But the most famous of his paintings the artist chose the technique of encaustic. However, based paint beeswax is quite difficult to work the material, they dry quickly, which smears a thick, dense and heterogeneous. However, these features of the material and drew Jones in encaustic. "It was a solution to the problem he says. – I wrote oil paints, but they dried quickly enough for me. I wanted to overlay new strokes".

When in 1955, he finished his first "Flag", a detailed analysis of the critics have attacked not only the painting's narrative. Attempt Jones on inviolable state symbol among the people was seen as blasphemy and others as a bold challenge to tradition. In choosing tricky and unstable material critics found the metaphor of the changing nature of authenticity and identity. Several decades later, the flags of Jasper Johns would have to compete in popularity with the original, and now they are often perceived as a simple Patriotic gesture.

The artist is still just laughing over the numerous interpretations of his paintings: "I wasn't going to make any Patriotic statements. Then many thought my pictures are devastating and disgusting. It's funny how the situation has changed now." Jones has always refused to confirm or deny other people's speculations about their work. He was reluctant to even comment on the techniques that were used. Once, during an interview with the journalist, desperate to talk to the artist, asked why he still chose encaustic: he liked paint or they just happened to be at hand? Jones thought a moment and replied: "They liked me because they were at hand".

Nothing personal

In the work of Jones has always been an interesting point of "viewing", vision. Creating his works, he often repelled by how the viewer sees. The artist described the paintings of abstract expressionists "emotional Rorschach tests" and insisted that his own work, there is nothing subjective, nothing deeply personal. In addition to familiar all the flags it uses symbols "which are familiar to our minds" - target, figures letters. All these things attract the artist, above all, that when its original clarity and certainty they can carry an infinite number of meanings.

At the same time, when Jones began writing flags, he combines in his works of painting and sculpture. The clearest example – "Target with four faces"(1955). As in the case of flags, the artist has shaped the space of the canvas using beeswax and paper pieces. And in the upper part of the canvas he fastened a wooden box with four identical casts of the lower part of a female face. In these works, already felt the influence of Dada and Rauschenberg with his large-scale collages. Their other target Jones complements a variety of images of fragments of human bodies, emphasizing aggressive, violent, the meaning of this symbol.

Jones will use a variety of objects and materials and later his artwork. For example, in series with a "device" (1, 2) he places on the canvases of wood and metal elements, designing the device, which could be created concentric circles.

Interestingly, almost every iconic work the artist after beats in different forms, creating on the basis of his drawings, collages and etchings. Their flags (1, 2)
and sculpture (e.g., "the Banks of ale, Ballentin" - 1, 2) he turned into a whole series of works made in different techniques.

Recent years, Jasper Johns holds still away from people in his home-Studio in a small town called Sharon. Now he definitely can afford not to look at anyone in their work and most of the time is dedicated to etchings. If you ask him, why he creates them, he will answer: "For anything. For themselves".

Author: Eugene Sidelnikov
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