When asked what art is, Marcel Duchamp said: "I believe that art is the only activity through which man manifests himself as a true individual.”

If one could ask Jörg Czischke, he would probably agree with Duchamp's statement, but strengthen it further: for him, the art and individual was actually one unit. This conviction created the foundation for a life of work that earned him public attention and recognition in his early years, but that he also hid from the public in his later years when he felt it was appropriate.

From the time he started producing art in 1965, Czischke grappled with the problems of shape and colour. He started exploring these issues in his colour and ink drawings. Early critics of his work said that "his not figurative, but often sculptural compositions" were composed deliberately and consciously, with a unique signature and high-quality execution. The monochromatic canvases he produced during a later period in his career appeared as if they had never been touched by a brush. Their geometric protrusions represent a departure from the flatness of panel painting. These works are more like three-dimensional objects.

One example is a piece that was shown in a 1973 exhibition in Cologne called “Strukturierte Monochromie” ("Structured Monochromatics"), along works by Ulrich Erben, Heinz Mack, Günther Uecker, Jan Schoonhoven and other artists. The concept was reminiscent of Lucio Fontana. Although the three-dimensional aspect of this slit canvas appears to opens to the back, Czischke constructed a two-piece frame for his square, monochromatic white canvas that allows this panel to reach into the space before it.
Czischke did a large amount of very diverse sculptural work. His pieces range from being playful and imaginative to strictly constructivist in their appearance. He used a practically endless variety of materials. His sculptures frequently consisted of seemingly worthless materials that he found. Whether large or small, most of the pieces were to be viewed from every vantage point, and were also movable in some way. The impartial viewer experiences these works as undogmatic, sceptical, humorous or even ironic, and may even see an adopted kinship with Marcel Duchamp’s “ready mades” from the beginning of the 20th century.

Czischke’s graphic work also testifies to his creative drive. His "typewriter images" are good examples, in which he used the typography of the typewriter to design very minimalistic graphic sheets featuring critical political statements. This interest in the relationship between art and writing was not just inspired by his early work as a typographer, but proved to be a fundamental and lasting inspiration that manifested itself in his work in a variety of different ways.
Jörg Czischke
Introduction to his work
with special consideration of
»Caliban über Setebos«

Dr Uta Friederike Miksche,
Art Historian, Bonn