Thomas Wachholz


red phosphorous, binder, and cardboard on wood
32 1/4 x 23 5/8 x 1 inches

German artist Thomas Wachholz’s matchstick works bring the mundane act of striking a match into artistic territory. The red phosphorous paint Wachholz uses is his own chemical recipe, and in painting form it may appear as a sold field (seen in American matchboxes) or a grid pattern (seen in European matchboxes). Laid over these abstract fields are dozens of marks, all indicative of the moment when friction turns wood into fire. Like his predecessors Yves Klein, Alberto Burri, and Toshio Yoshida, Wachholz sees fire as a mark-making event, though his expressive range is closer to drawing than painting, seen here in gentle dragged lines and quick flick marks. Wachholz’s work has been shown throughout the US and Europe.