About Asger Jorn

Open Creation

Bibliothéque D'Alexandrie, Paris 1960

Fully conscious of the prodigality of ideas in modern painting two painters have joined forces in order to discover the seed from which a work of art springs, to encourage creative growth, to convince other working artists that have helped them to complete their exploit.

They were painters, now they are tapestry weavers. They were both alone, like a painter in front of his canvas, now they manage a team of craftsmen who use a technique requiring patience and time. Often a master of tapestry channels all his creative prowess into drawing a ”cartoon”. He determines in advance the variety of the skeins of yarn. Skilled craftsmen then translate the beautiful drawing into the language of the yarn. In the process there is a break between the values inherent in the creation of an artwork and those connected with its execution; becoming consummate tapestry weavers, creative weavers and practising weavers Asger Jorn and Pierre Wemaëre have united their creative skills at all stages of the making of a work. To them weaving is, as the philosopher puts it, ”a continuous creative act”. The cartoon was in effect a fully-fledged world holding the practitioner prisoner. In measured steps he passed the shuttle from one knot to the next, feeling only a slight pleasure when he found the beautiful and right yarn.

Already when joining forces the two artists set themselves free. Well, the two of them weaving together would have been too slow. In the end the slow acts of creation lull you to sleep. Asger Jorn and Pierre Wemaëre have extended their brotherhood even further. Their loom has become an open workshop, where new craftsmen have come to dream, needle in hand. A great example of an open creative act. When one practitioner takes over from another he can say to him: “I am copying you a little, but at the same time I am renewing you.” Weaving a world using needle and thread. It takes many creators to make a beautiful universe.

Every so often Jorn and Wemaëre, the two original deities, would return to stoke up the creative fire. They would cause the sap to rise. Imagination would run free again. And so the execution in yarn triumphs over the stiffness of the cartoon. It escapes the tyranny of the cartoon masters.

That is how Jorn’s and Wermaëre’s tapestries first came into being, and how they have continued unceasingly to be born. Their creative lives are continued to generate them now, in front of our eyes, in our hands, full of life.
And how wonderful when the fashioning of the work expresses a life, when it relates that life to the life of the work! I love, for example, this work in wool that before lived a life of growth. I love these big leaves that climb up slowly, slowly, under the patient guide of a dreaming hand. The dream lasts just long enough for the plant to turn into an eye instead of a flower.

All is possible for he who dreams long enough, who dreams while working.

If, by some miracle, I had the house of my dreams, with the long corridors of my dreams, I would unfold the two dreaming weavers’ long tapestry in it. I would want it close enough for my hand to be able to caress it lightly so that my fingers might catch an echo of working fingers. Perhaps I might even dream that I myself am a yarn worker.

Having seen Asger Jorn and Pierre Wermaëre’s tapestries I am more convinced than ever that a reverie that communicates itself to others, when attempting to recover the original creative reverie, heightens the benefit of contemplation.

Gaston Bachelard, La création ouverte, 1960



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