MinXus Mail Bag: Striking Trashpo from Janine Weiss (Boudry, Switzerland)

Janine W. - 1

Mail-art by Janine Weiss (Boudry, Switzerland)

Our dear friend Janine Weiss sent us a fantastic envelope brimming with art. We think she has surpassed all her previous efforts with the brilliance of these pieces. Because she relies so heavily on found material, we tend to categorize her work as Trashpo, although the definition applied to Janine’s art does not entirely hold. For instance, we find distinctly MinXus-Lynxus elements in this work received. We find an aesthetic and a use of representation foreign to much Trashpo.

The symbols and references are deeply cryptic. We believe we find an autobiographical narrative running throughout. While the works vary, we ask you to see if you observe the (nearly intangible) autobiographical threads we think are suggested.  We see self-effacement, passion, regret. Is it possible? One does not know, sometimes, when we are using the art simply as a mirror to see ourselves and disregarding important things the artist has to tell us that might help us transcend our narrow selves.

The piece above is adorable, yet made as it is with a match box accompanied by a single match, is the role of the recipient to burn the work?  This certainly speaks to the temporal, ephemeral nature of art or perhaps life itself. We will refrain from burning this wonderful piece. Here is the reverse side:

Janine W. - 2

Janine’s trash person is clearly made with a sense of fun and play. Yet there is also a seriousness that emerges as it is placed in relation to other work included in the envelope:

Janine W. - 3

Perhaps only the result of pure chance, we have noted a (small) surge in flattened can art lately. We note recent work by Erni Baer (Hamburg, Germany) and Richard Canard (Illinois, USA). Yet what a surprise and delight to receive a crushed can from Janine Weiss! She has decorated the work a bit more than the usual minimal approach taken by others.

Janine W. - 4

The flower-like design and the references to the USA lead us to consider the idea that in this work, Janine is very consciously commenting on Trashpo. From all we understand, the customary practice of finding material in the streets so familiar to trash poets in the USA is a bit more difficult in Switzerland. People are more conscious of recycling, waste and blighting the environment. Swiss Trashpo, if this work is an indication, has a distinct identity among the Trashpo of nations across the globe. Yet, as suggested by the match in the earlier work, there is also a curious reference to destruction in this work.

As if to offer a clue to this cryptic maze, Janine included a sealed envelope. Of course, we did open that:

Janine W. - 5

From this emerged more specific facts of a life and a consolidation and strengthening of images:

Janine W. - 6

And just as serious expressions begin to emerge, the flow of images and words retreat back into play and ambiguity like a conversation where one haltingly reveals oneself in a guarded way.

Janine W. - 7

Then a most serious return to huge issues like birth and death, the play of words: Jan(ine) and Jan(uary). We must tell you, dear Tenderfoots, we believe this work by Janine is by far the finest work she has done. Working, literally, from scraps around her she creates a truly human expression that emerges  and then recedes without false closure into the emptiness of the material: profoundly moving.

Deepest thanks for this wonderful work, Janine.

Janine W. - 8

Janine W. - 9


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. suffolkrebecca
    May 23, 2013 @ 16:02:21

    Great blog Minkranger! Your line, ‘One does not know, sometimes, when we are using the art simply as a mirror to see ourselves and disregarding important things the artist has to tell us that might help us transcend our narrow selves,’ surprises me but I will add my own mirror and ask, ‘Is there a little Zorba the Greek in this?’ Love it all Janine. Thanks for sharing this trashpo envelope of characters and confessions!


  2. minkrancher
    May 27, 2013 @ 19:57:19

    Miss Becca, I suspected Janine had put a lot into this work. That was confirmed with an explanation she posted in the IUOMA (general audience) version of this blog. Janine Weiss wrote:

    “Look, you see the: since 1954, which is when the ‘Philip Moris’ made the tabac Winston. And i’m born in 1954 and i smoke those cigareten. Those cigareten have 10 or more bad subtances”, and it is written on paquet ; ‘SMOKE KILL’, that’s why i write: dead ?

    “The bird is the logo of Winston (if you smoke Winston, you wanna be free like a bird…). It is a delicatessa new!, first ’cause 1954 in the year where ME is born…(laugh) and twice ’cause to be like a bird…

    “And i put a ‘clin d’oeil’ on the little envelope : ‘Jesus’s telephone must be now a design telephone, and i do not know how it is in USA, but here, if we ask for “assistance” on phone, we have to press on alot of number before having a real person on phone. For german, press 1, for french press two – (i do) – for your invoice press one – for technik assistance press two – for other problem press three (i do) – what is your problem if : tv, press one, if computer press two, if telephon press 3 (i do) – what is your problem on your computer : if… press one, if… press two…(i do) – wait all our worker are on communication – please wait ………. please wait…..’

    “But, yes, Sloan, as you say, we have every one our interpretation, our feeling are many. And it is a good thing. Thus we are not sheep and react according to our personality. Because the ‘sheep’ thoughts, it is uniform. And standardization, we must burn it.

    “Hope you understand my very bad english. It is difficult to explain some feeling.”

    Wow! Thanks Janine.

    Also the flattened can I said was a flower Janine meant to be a windmill.


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