Josepha Gasch-Muche

Her objects are created in that she layers transparent glass splinters, in endless variety of shapes, on canvas or hard backgrounds and fixes them almost invisibly. In that way the direction and thickness of the layers decides the structure and composition of the objects. At first glance an area like that appears uniform and static because of the similarity and sameness of the individual pieces.

Should light fall on these glass layers the homogenous surface really comes to life. The calm of the light is shattered and results in reflections of an extreme intensity and dynamism. The glass captures the light and forces it to reveal itself in all its tracks. The optical quality appears more intense and excessive.
Whoever thinks that the representatives of the Zero movement had, in the 1950’s and 1960’s exhausted the possibilities of creating works of art with materials and light, has not seen any work by Josepha Gasch-Muche. The paper-thin, layered glass reflects all entering light far more than Zero’s favoured use of metal with silver effects or natural stone with highly polished surfaces. Today we see Josepha Gasch-Muche in the tradition of the Zero artists who, after the Second World War, gave up the picture compositions they had used up to that point in favour of new materials (above all aluminium, nails, fire and smoke), and expanded the painted panel beyond the relief into an object for a room. In this case glass rather played a secondary role. Light became the most important new medium which, in its life giving quality, seemed best able to convey the philosophical content of the Zero art. With that the singular meaning of the light for all life on earth corresponded with the challenging meaning of the artists’ work.
Josepha Gasch-Muche finished her art studies with Boris Kleint and Günter Swiderski in Saarbrücken and Trier at the beginning of the 80’s; she primarily saw herself concentrating on drawing and etching. In addition craft and industrial waste products attracted her, so she created structured images on wood, canvas and Perspex from wire, iron filing and graphite powder. That was the beginning of her departure from composition as an artistic order.

When she came across display glass (150 micro meter) of Dchott Spezialglas, Grünenplan, at the end of the 90’s, it turned out that the playful attempt on a small canvas became a crucial turning point. She managed to influence the effect of pasty white, structured colour by the additional introduction of glass fragment. Within a year she had reached the high perfection and artistic quality of her present work.

The physical phenomenon of the light refraction in the glass is increased by the multi layers and changes when the viewer alters his vantage point. The slightest movement produces new light reflections. A glittering firework of light passes in front of ones eyes and even though it produces a direct confrontation, primarily because of its lack of colour, it is always pleasant.

Just as the clarity of the structure and the purity of the light provide formal severity and simplicity, so the basic shapes, the circle, the square, the rectangle and the triangle with their perfect proportions, contribute to the higher aesthetics of the objects. One would like to describe the objects in their luminous harmony as beautiful even though this term is scorned upon in art today.

A further effect aspired to, but not always achieved by Zero, is the weightless quality of Josepha Gasch-Muche’s objects. Even though glass is known to be a difficult material her objects emit a lightness akin to immateriality. They remind one of cosmic light clouds or star clusters in the endless universe, and they make the experience of a spiritual dimension possible. Through external stimulus and sensory involvement with the object a different, till now unknown reality, can be experienced by the viewer.

Dr. Horst Schulte, Glashaus 2/2005