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Youri Messen-Jaschin
Lausanne | Switzerland

Bio: This color, that the artist loves so much – and which is incidentally the basis of his work, plus movement – still doesn’t make an entertainer. Quite the contrary. When he is in front of a canvas or a sculpture project, it’s serious: “I am very meticulous and picky.” It is a guarantee of quality in his work. Besides, he immediately clarifies, “I am and have to be very quiet because if I paint a straight line, it must be perfect and not curved.” In days of old, the designation “Master” was reserved for a painter who succeeded in drawing a perfect circle freehand. In that respect, this designation is well deserved since, in addition, it allows him to control … the square! Born in Arosa in Grisons in 1941, he is the only child of a Russian-born father and a mother from Berlin, “And here is the cocktail at the exit,” he quips. 
Color: he always studied it in the various art schools he attended. “For me, color plays an important role, especially in optical art because the basic colors are always set in opposition to each other. And it is precisely by their confrontation that we obtain optical movement of the work. Op Art is certainly created with geometry, but mainly by color. By playing with it, you arrive in a third dimension.” 
Chance or necessity, this colorful life spent in Op Art? Pure chance, he says without blinking. At the end of the 1960s. I was in Göteborg, at the Högskolan för Design & Konsthandwerk. In this city, an exhibition of kinetic art was held and attended by the Venezuelans Jesús Soto (now deceased), Carlos Cruz-Diez and the Argentine Julio Le Parc. Undecided, I was still hesitating between the abstract way – that didn’t bring me much – and the figurative. But visiting this exhibition, I immediately knew I was going to do this all my life. I then approached Soto who taught me some “stuff” in a fortnight. Then, I continued my research in my Swedish workshop while regularly submitting my sketches and drawings. After six months, he told me that I could start. I now was convinced that Op Art was the future of art. “Create movement with color” had thus become a necessity. The numerous paintings completed or in progress wait for the visitor who, in turn, sets them in motion. Provided he comes in head on, his eyes carefully take in the image and his brain. Perceives the illusion. Once experienced, they’re impossible to resist, even if some of them have a destabilizing power. They make us see every color. This is living art, interactive and, as a supreme pleasure, totally dependent on one’s mood. I particularly like Youri’s work because his art is incapable of being frigid. Each encounter is likely to cause new enjoyment(s). A sacred slap in a figurative sense, where the final word is spoken at the first contact. Fortunately, Sweden made him give up taking the path of least resistance. I still have to emphasize that this artistic choice, from the start, has brought luck to Youri Messen-Jaschin who makes a living out of his creativity – only unique pieces! – thanks to the passion and loyalty of collectors on five continents. Some have followed him from the beginning and others do not hesitate to come and see him in action all the way from Japan. The mention of this success colors him satisfied. A reputation earned and recognized on the “Culture” pages of the first issue of L’Hebdo of… September 11, 1981! 
We’ll certainly hear more about this gentleman. Especially with his new passion for amazing sculptures in Plexiglas – and colorful as it must be – with decidedly hypnotic powers. (Laurent Delaloye | contemporary art critic | Lausanne Switzerland)

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Posted August 6, 2014 by Youri Messen-Jaschin

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