"aesthetics is by no means the theory of skilfully arranging nice things (or other stimuli) or of systematising such arrangements, nor is it putting forward or connecting updated (or other) cultural theories or the enforcement of some cultural ideology, but it first and foremost has to do with those who created (greetings god) and still create our world: our so-called five senses - actually there are at least eight - and the little grey eminence that utilises them for our good!" (TS 1979)

It belongs to the proven traditions of Portikus to exhibit during the time of the book fair an artist concerned with books and with making books. Tomas Schmit (b. 1943, lives and works in Berlin) is such an artist - in a very special respect. He became known with his early Fluxus actions such as "piece" (1962), the "zyklus für wassereimer (oder flaschen)" ("cycle for water buckets (or bottles)"), in which TS placed receptacles in a circle and poured water from one into the next until the water was completely spilled or evaporated; or "sanitas 79" (1962), where he took his audience, expecting a happening, to the countryside - and then jumped into the empty bus and drove back, leaving his art-tourists behind. For some years now, TS has no longer performed "stage-" or "stager-art" (TS), but produced drawings, editions, brochures, and books. "some may still know me as a strict fluxus actor and say today: he no longer does anything (worthwhile)..., and because of the way my stuff sometimes comes across so joyfully or funny, many people miss what's behind it, what's in it; (...)" (TS 1978)

With Tomas Schmit, drawing is inextricably linked to writing, pictures to words. The similarities and differences, the deviations and contradictions create a unique approach to drawing. "the word giraffe does not have a long neck" it says in one of Tomas Schmit's drawings. "100 people have 100 different concepts of a giraffe. 100 people ("foreigners get out!") use the same word when speaking or writing about the longneck. but 100 people would make 100 different drawings of the one-reluctant-to-bend...: not parallel- but diagonal-naturalism." (TS)

Anagrams, rebuses, paradoxes, graphematic figures are forms Tomas Schmit likes to use in playfully dealing with pictures and words. "Methinks" has a special status. "I call methinks the free, speculative, concrete, non-academic, playful variant of thinking. I call methinks something good. (...) but the same applies to the head: 'shake well before use!'" (TS 1974)

Photos: Katrin Schilling