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Ku-chen (Ca-kes), Drawings by Jörn Michael, 22/09/2004, Ratsherrencafe Annaberg-Buchholz, Germany.

Since I learned that the so-called “Kuchen-Pappen” (cakeboards) – those small, nondescript cardboard plates, which ensure that cheesecake and co. are safely transported from the bakers to your home – are by all means suitable for higher purposes, i.e. for art – well, since then my cake consumption has increased dramatically… Especially, as I know, that the cakeboards from my regular bakers in Geyer are of superior quality, which was verified by Europe’s exclusive cakeboard artist. For quite some time since I have been trying to deliver the most intriguing cakeboards to the studio in Buchholz… According to my daily cake intake this should hardly pose any problems… But the woman in charge at my bakery does not play along properly. No matter how moist the plum cake may be – they skimp on cakeboars… However, I have not told her yet of my special interest and of the higher fortunes that are in store for the small boards. Most likely she would not understand and offer me a pile of boards – but only new ones, without any stains, which would be useless. Hence my hopes are with the shop woman to dutifully reach for a cakeboard for every piece of cake. But of course I am no match for Europe’s exclusive cakeboard artist with his expert knowledge. He knows which kind of cake is responsible for this or that greasy trace on the boards, using the smallest colour remnant he can identify the original fruit covering; he knows all the board formats and qualities of almost all the bakeries in the area. I only know that “Bienenstich” (literally translated bee-sting cake, a cake with a honey and nut topping) and almond cake penetrate the board quite intensely due to their relatively high fat content. Well enough about the supporting material – no to the art. It is out of question that since Joseph Beuys the material fat has become an inherent part of modern art. Equally coincidence has long since found its way into art. In his cake-drawings, which have materialized over the past two years, Jˆrn Michael combines his preference for the unnoticed and nondescript with the play with randomness and his excellent eye for structures and microcosms. The stains left by the cake form the origin for this artistic adventure, in which he immerges with his Indian ink pen and starts his quest for traces with fine lines or rather with thousands of little dots. Form the first it is never clear what the result is going to be, which is the actual the fascination, and that is true both for the production process as well as for the viewer’s perception. Finally a picture emerged on the board, which can but hint at the initial stage. The more recently used the board the better as the fatty stains are more pronounced. Hence the original state of the cakeboard is crucial: dependent on the distribution and intensity of the stains the board may become an act covered over and over with black structures full of seething clouds and pulsating energy or a creation which shows sparsely a subtle dot here and there, lonely traces, like relicts telling of things long gone. It is fascinating for us this to see into this world, which seems incomprehensible at first, which cannot be quite delimited. Like looking through a microscope into biological sphere or through a telescope into distant galaxies the wondering eye discovers things unseen so far but yet still existing. And with this we reach the core of the affair: Art does not replicate the visible but is visualisation (Paul Klee). With his little drawings Jˆrn Michael performs this visualisation of the invisible and demonstrates that often it is worthwhile to look more carefully – something that does not only apply to the art. And – whether you believe it or not – die cakeboards are alive. Because the fat is continuously absorbed further by the paper fibres the pigments join the journey and so change the pattern. As said, this also encourages to study the drawings extensively and to do the same a few days later. Buying a piece of cake and eating it is now different to the past when the boards were thrown away regardless. You only have to be careful not to buy the cake just for the cakeboard.

Bon AppÈtit!

Alexander Stoll, September 2004