Youri Messen-Jaschin  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Youri Messen-Jaschin is an artist of Latvian origin, born in Arosa, Switzerland, in 1941.



His artistic studies brought him to the “Ecole Supérieur Nationale des Beaux-Arts”. He was a pupil of professor and master Robert Cami and also attended the Hautes Études of the Sorbonne University, which included, History of Art, with professor Pierre Francastel from the Ecole Pratique, in Paris.

From 1962 to 1965 he attended the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Lausanne, where he worked with the engraver and painter Ernest Pizzotti. He debuted his creations at the Lausanne EXPO, in 1964 (Swiss fair), where he presented his kinetic sculptures of glass and acrylic resin.

Youri was searching for new forms of art. He worked two years in “The Center of Contemporary Engraving” in Geneva. But it was in Zurich that he expanded his pictorial perspective with the experience of the circle above the face, influenced by the Swiss painter Friederick Kuhn.

From 1968 to 1970, he studied at the University of Högskolan for design & Konsthantwerk of Gothenburg, where he made kinetic objects of textiles. In 1967, he met Jesús-Rafael Soto, Carlos Cruz-Diez and Julio Le Parc during an exhibition at the Kunstmuseum of Gothenburg. By speaking with these artists, he became fascinated by optical art. He then decided to dedicate more and more of his time researching kinetic art. Youri’s investigations and research with op art had a lot repercussion in Scandinavia, which was very avant-garde. It was there that he had the opportunity to exhibit his work in various museums.

In 1968, Youri received First Prize in Swiss Contemporary Art of Engraving. On the same year, he was granted a Scholarship from the Swedish Government.

In 1970, he created a kinetic sculpture for the American company Gould, at Heistetten, in Germany. He also had the privilege to sell his Pop Art style single tapestry "More Light" to Musée of Contemporary Art, in Zurich. This unique piece was conceived when he lived in New York and met the Pop Art artists - Andy Warhol, Tom Wesselmann and Jasper Johns. He was enthusiastic and fascinated by the possibilities of colors in this style of art.

This tapestry was woven during the Seventies in his work-studio at Zollikofen, in Switzerland. This tapestry is part of the collection of Migros Vaud, in Switzerland.

After spending a long period in New York, Youri returned to Switzerland and settled in Bern, where he lived for eleven years. During that time he held many exhibitions at the Kunsthalle and also in other museums in the area. There were many museums interested in his work, such as the Kunsthaus of Zurich, Ecole Polytechnique, Federal of Zurich, and the Cabinet of Prints, of Geneva.

The Museum Royal des Beaux Art, in Brussels, Stedelijk Museet Amsterdam, and private collectors from the United States, Canada, Japan and Europe have also added Youri’s kinetic works to their collections.

His creations were also very well received in Venezuela where he resided for a few years. The Foundation Mendoza and Yonekura Industrial gave him the financial support he needed to pursue and expand his research. Youri designed stage sets at the Sala of Conciertos del Ateneo and Teatro Ana Julia Rojas del Ateneo in Caracas, where he was well received. He was invited, on several occasions, to set up the theater and to produce his own writings.

His various experiences abroad enabled him to form a bond with artists from many parts of the world, who also were part of the same artistic movement. He was invited to present his theater performance art in various venues: VI Festival Internacional de Teatro, Fundacion Eugenio Mendoza, Association Cultural Humboldt (Goethe Institute) and the Alliance Française.

Architecture plays a significant role in Youri’s painting and sculptures. In the vocabulary of the Op Art movement (kinetic art,) the architectural space is everything. He also exchanged ideas about his research with Oscar Niemeyer and Burle Marx, in Rio de Janeiro, Ōtake in São Paulo, Brazil, and Clorindo Testa, in Buenos Aires.

In 1985, he received the first world prize of culture Premio Mondiale della Cultura statua della Vittoria from the Central Studi e Ricerche delle Nazioni, in Calvatone, Italy. At the same time, he became an Academician of Europe by the Università E Centro Studi e Ricerche of Europa, in Italy.

Youri has participated in many international exhibitions and has received prizes for research in optical art, in Italy. His work is shown in many specific and collective exhibitions and his works are also part of private collections and national and international museums.

From 2004 to 2005, he stayed for several months in Sydney. He got familiar with the cliffs of the Pacific to experiment putting them in movement in its optical work. His art, which has been in exhibitions around the world in many individual and collective exhibitions, is now part of private collections and national and international museums. Youri Messen-Jaschin is an excellent representative of European culture.

Youri is also a specialist in “body art painting”. He often exhibits his work in clubs where he used UV lamps. Usually takes 4 hours for him to paint an entire body with psychedelic colors and biologic paint, which does not damage the skin. The body looks like is wearing a very tight outfit, says Youri. The young woman excited by the techno-music, that he usually plays on the background, all want to be transformed.


Youri’s sculptures are enriched by the movement, placed in the environment (the movement of space), supplemented by sounds of concrete music (the movement then starts with the sounds). His first research with the sounds dates from the end of the Sixties. The sculptures are enriched by the movement, placed in the environment (the movement of space), and completed by music sounds concrete (movement starts the sounds). The first researches with sound and movement combined together dates from the end of the 60s. Already in the 70s, Youri integrates the neon into his optical art, which he continues even to use today in his sculptures, his installations, and also in his oil paintings.

He often uses the technique of combining oils and gouaches. His favourite colors are: strong reds, yellows, greens, and nuances of blue, luminous colors. His method, empirical, creates new perceptions of the colors and visual effects particularly striking. The geometrical forms such as the square, the triangle or the circle develop gradually without losing their original identity. What makes Youri Messen-Jaschin part of this movement is how he uses the color as meaning of communication which puts the artist among the kinetic architects of space.

Works represented in museums, foundations

  • 1960 Bibliothèque Cantonale de Lausanne, Switzerland
  • 1960 Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • 1967-1968 Centre de Gravure contemporaine Geneva
  • 1967-1968 Cabinet des Estampes Geneva
  • 1969 Röhsska Museet Göteborg, Sweden
  • 1971 Gould corporation Eistetten Germany
  • 1973 Musée des Beaux-Arts/Cabinet of prints/ Le Locle, Switzerland
  • 1974 EPFZ (Federal Polytechnic School Zurich) dept. cabinet of Prints Zurich
  • 1974 Bibliothèque Nationale Suisse (Dept. Prints) Berne
  • 1974 Kunsthaus Zurich
  • 1976 Musée d'Art et d'Histoire Fribourg (dept. Prints), Switzerland
  • 1976 Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique, Albert 1er/Cabinet Prints Bruxelle, Belgium
  • 1978-1998 Musée d'Art Contemporain Montreal, Canada
  • 1979 Foundation Philip Morris New York, U.S.
  • 1983 Fundación Mendoza Caracas, Venezuela
  • 1983 Fundación Interalumin Ciudad Guyana, Venezuela;
  • 1996 Donation from Migros-Genossenschafts-Bund the tapestry « More light » to Migros Vaud, Ecublens Switzerland
  • 1998 Orensanz Foundation/Center for the Arts New York USA
  • 2002 Paper Museum Kochi-Ken, Japan
  • 2007 Sakima Art Museum Okinawe Prefecture Japan


Books - Magazine

  • 1967 Modern Nordisk Konst Göteborg Sweden, Edition Modern Nordisk Konst Sweden
  • 1972 IDOLS Walter Zurcher Verlag Bern/Switzerland
  • 1974 CAHIER DE LA DANSE 58/59 Lausanne/Switzerland
  • 1976 Mostra Nazionale di Scultura all'Aperto
  • 1976 Circolo di cultura del Gambarogno Stazione S.A. Locarno/Switzerland
  • 1977 III.Berner Kunstausstellung Textil, Glas, Holz, Ton, Stein, Metall Kunsthalle Berne/Edit. Stämpfli + Cie AG Bern/Switzerland
  • 1978 «Sculptures en liberté», Nyon/Switzerland, Evian/France Edition Galerie Henry Meyer Lausanne/Switzerland
  • 1978 René Neuenschwander critical of art/ Die Holzschnitte von Youri Messen-Jaschin (Portrait) Verlag Restaurant Rathaus, Berne/Switzerland
  • 1979 Jack Lenort Larsen " Art fabrics in the seventies" New York/USA
  • 1982 Buch der Berner rekorde und superlative Erpf verlag, Berne/Switzerland
  • 1991 LAUSANNE-PALACE History and chronicles (75 years of a prestigious hotel) Presses Centrales Lausanne SA Lausanne/Switzerland
  • 1983 Selection Reader Digest/Switzerland
  • 1990 Selection Reader Digest/Switzerland
  • 1993 Selection Reader Digest/Switzerland
  • 2000 Premion Internazionale di scultura "Terzo millenio" Terra Moretti Editor Fiorenza Mursia/Milan/Italy
  • 2000 International competition celebrating artistic achievement Federation of Canadian artists Editor Aim for Arts/Vancouver/Canada
  • 2000 "World festival of art on paperKranj, Slovenie
  • 2003 "Patterns of Life" The International Library of Poetry, Owings Mills, USA
  • 2007 "Who's & Who International Best Poet" The International Library of Poetry, Owings Mills, USA
  • 2007 Art periscope (art calendar 2007) Czetochowa, Poland
  • 2008 Catalógo Fundación Antonio Saura Madrid Spain «La Crónica de una Época. La Época de une técnica. La Técnica del grabado como pieza clave dela obra gráfica»
  • 2009 Karl's Kühne Gassenschau Buch; Editor: Karl's Kühne Gassenschau; Print and Production Karl Schwegler AG, Zurich-Oerlikon; ISBN 978-3-033-01969-0
  • 2009 «The Fascination of Technology-Faszination Technik» "What moves us - Was uns Bewegt" Edition OSB Olympische Sport Bibliothek Cloppenburg Germany


  • 1987 to 1992 Who's and Who international art
  • 1981 Institut Suisse pour l'étude de l'art, Dictionnaire des artistes suisses contemporains (Swiss institute for the study of art, Dictionary of the contemporary Swiss artists)
  • 1970 -1980, 1980 - 1990, 1990 - 2000 Editor Huber Frauenfeld-Stuttgart/Switzerland/Germany
  • 1999 Dictionnaire biographique de l'art Suisse, Répertoire des artistes suisses/ Institut suisse pour l'étude de l'art Zurich & Lausanne) (Biographical dictionary of Swiss art, Repertory of the Swiss artists/Swiss Institute for the study of art Zurich & Lausanne) Editor Neue Zürcher Zeitung/Zurich/Switzerland
  • 1990-2008 QUID Editor Robert Laffont Paris/France
  • 2008 Cambridge Encyclopedia vol.43 (Kinetic Art).
  • 2008 Cambridge Encyclopedia vol.11 (Body Art).
  • 2008 Visarte Vaud - 152 creative personalities | Editor League of visual artists and architects Lausanne Switzerland.

Introduction of catalogue

  • 1967 Mrs A-M.Mettra/catalogue Galerie Atelier-Theaters Berne
  • 1972 Catalogue M. Dr.Johann Lischka (Idols) Aktionsgalerie Berne, Katakombe Basel, Bündner Kunsthaus Chur, Switzerland
  • 1973 catalogue M. Roberto Gutièrrez (Paris 6.11.1972) Lausanne, Switzerland
  • 1976 M. Edgardo Ratti/M.Peter Killer/Monsieur Dott. A.Lafranchi Caatalogue (Mostra Nazionale di Scultura All'Aperto) Gambarogno, Switzerland
  • 1977 M. Dr.Johannes Gachnang catalogue (III.Berner Kunstausstellung) Kunsthalle Berne Switzerland
  • 1978 M. Henry Meyer catalogue (Sculptures en liberté), Nyon/Switzerland, Evian/France
  • 1980 M. René Neuenschwander (critical of art) «Die Holzchnitte von Youri Messen-Jaschin» Berne, Switzerland
  • 1981 M. René Neuenschwander (critical of art) «Die Werke und sein OP-ART von Youri Messen-Jaschin» Berne, Switzerland
  • 1998 M. René Neuenschwander (critique d'art)«OP-ART und Youri Messen-Jaschin» Burgdorf, Suisse
  • 2000 Mr. Vittorio Moretti; Mr. Tino Bino; Ministry Mrs.Giovanna Melandri; Mr.Franca di Furia/Academy of Modern Art; Mr.Pierre Restany (Premio Internazionale di Scultura "Terzo Millennio" ) Milano Italy



  • 1983 «PRIMERA PARTE DE LOS EFFECTOS ESPECIALES «The Empire Strikes Back» Fundacion Eugenio Mendoza, «Caracas»
  • 1983 «SEGINDA PARTE DE LOS EFFECTOS ESPECIALES «Raiders of the lost Arc» Fundacion Eugenio Mendoza, Caracas
  • 1984 «USA/LA PELÍCULA ANIMADA "STEVEN SPIELBERG"» Fundacion Eugenio Mendoza, Caracas
  • 1986 Template:Cite book
  • 1986 Musées lausannois (Februari) Le monde des forains/page 1/N°.9/Services des affaires culturelles Lausanne
  • 1987 Musées lausannois (Mai) Costumes du cirque/page 5/N°.12/Services des affaires culturelles Lausanne
  • 1993 Periodical "Versión Original" (March) «CRISIS & CULTURE» & «LA CULTURE N'EST PAS UN PHENOMENE Independent DE LA VIE DES HOMMES» Madrid
  • 1993 Periodical "En Pie de Paz" Barcelona Periodical "Versión Original" (Mai) SEX & REPRESSION»
  • 1993 "MUJERES EN LAS ARTES" Guia (Mai «CRISIS & CULTURA» , collaboration with MUAC Madrid, Edition Gráficas Gaia Madrid, Subvencionado por Minestero de Asuntos Sociales/Instituto de la Mujer Madrid


  • 1982 «PSICOTRONICÓ» Caracas
  • 1983 «AH! AH! BARROCO» Caracas
  • 1983 «LA TORTA QUE CAMINA» Caracas
  • 1964 «EMBRYO» Caracas

Scholarship and prizes

  • 1963 1st prize and scholarship in contemporary engraving/Musée d'Art et d'Histoire Geneva
  • 1966 Högskolan för Design & Konsthantwerk/Göteborgs Universitet Göteborg Sweden (Scholarship Swedish State)
  • 1968 Scholarship from the University of Gothenburg (for research on the experimental textile sculpture in the space)
  • 1970 2nd prize for a work textile/éléctro-acoustics, Göteborgs Universitet de Göteborg Sweden
  • 1971 1st prize for an electro-space sculpture for Gould corporation Eistetten Germany
  • 1985 "Premio Mondiale della cultura"/Statua della Vittoria Centro studie ricerche delle nazioni, Calvatone Italy
  • 1985 Diploma of nomination,"d'Accademico d'Europa" (Per la sua attivita' culturale e professionale) delivered by Centro Studi e Ricerche l'Accademia d'Europa, Salsomaggiore Terme PR/Italy
  • 1986 Diploma of the European Fair Union, for the merits which he had received to the cause of the European Fair Union) Luxembourg
  • 1998 II. Installation Art Award «Certificate of Merit» (For his research in Optical Art) Angel Orensanz Foundation/Center for the Arts, New York USA; 2000 Ministry for culture & Terra Moretti Italy, Premio Internazionale di Scultura "Terzo Millennio" Erbusco, Italy
  • 2000 Vancouver, Aim for Art International juried exhibition, celebrating artistic achievement. Federation of Canadian artists
  • 2000 "World festival of art on paper" Kranj, Slovenie


  • 1959 Internationaal markt van de kunsten Assen, Netherlands
  • 1960 Galerie "La Palette" Paris
  • 1960 Kunstheater Berne
  • 1960 Galeria 2000 Milan
  • 1960 Galeria del Nociolo Lugano
  • 1963 Galerie St.Gill Paris
  • 1964 Expos 64 Lausanne, Switzerland (Swiss National Exhibitions)
  • 1964 Vieux Bourg Lausanne
  • 1964 Studentföreningen Gallery Göteborg, Sweden
  • 1964 Kunstgalerie Stockholm
  • 1964 Centre de la Gravure contemporaine Geneva
  • 1964 Universitet Göteborg Sweden
  • 1964 Galerie Migros Geneva
  • 1964 Galerie Migros Neuchâtel
  • 1965 Atelier-Theater Berne
  • 1965 Galerie la Toile d'Araignée Chardonne-sur-Vevey Switzerland
  • 1966 Modern Nordisk Konst Karlstadt, Sweden
  • 1966 Quinzaine Culturel Orbe "Centre de Jeunesse" Orbe, Switzerland
  • 1966 Galerie del Nocciolo Lugano
  • 1966 Galerie Club Neuchâtel, Switzerland
  • 1966 Galerie du Vieux-Bourg, Lausanne, Switzerland
  • 1967 Internationaal Kunstmesse Emmelord, Netherlands
  • 1967 Modern Nordisk Konst Göteborg
  • 1967 Galerie St.Gill Paris, France
  • 1967 Atelier-Theater Berne, Switzerland
  • 1968 Musée Rath Geneva (SPAS)
  • 1969 1st Swiss show of contemporary Engraving Musée d'Arts et d'Histoire Geneva
  • 1970 V. Biennale de la Tapisserie Lausanne
  • 1970 Gould Gmbh Freiburg Germany
  • 1970 Restaurant Eichhalde Freiburg, Germany
  • 1970 Saipa SA Lugano
  • 1970 Moderna Museet (Grupputställningar) Göteborg
  • 1970 Expo-Form 70 Röhsska Museet Göteborg
  • 1970 Franskacenter Göteborg
  • 1971 Galerie Migros Lausanne
  • 1971 Foundation Gould corporation Freiburg Germany
  • 1971 Elektronica München, Germany
  • 1971 Gewerbemuseum Berne, (artist from Bern)
  • 1972 Aktionsgalerie 2, Berne, (Idoles)
  • 1972 Katakombe Basel, (Idoles)
  • 1972 Bündner Kunsthaus Chur, Switzerland (Idols)
  • 1972 Kunstkeller Berne
  • 1973 Müstermesse Basel
  • 1973 Gewerbemuseum Berne, (artist from Bern)
  • 1973 Salon des Antiquaires Lausanne
  • 1974 Aktionsgalerie 1, Berne
  • 1973/74 Kunsthalle Berne (artist from Bern)
  • 1974 3ème Biennale Internationale des Arts Menton, France
  • 1974 1er Salon International de l'Architecture d'intérieur Geneva
  • 1974 Aktionsgalerie 1, Berne; 1974 Semaine culturel Moutier, Switzerland
  • 1974 Kunstmuseum Luzern (Purse Kiefer-Hablitzel)
  • 1974 Galerie Bertram Burgdorf, Switzerland (Weichnachtssaustellung)
  • 1974/75 Kunsthalle Berne (artist from Bern)
  • 1975 Aktionsgalerie 1, Berne
  • 1975 Gewerbemuseum Berne (Berner Künstler)
  • 1975 2ème Salon International de l'architecture d'intérieur Geneva
  • 1975 Leuebrüggli Langenthal, Switzerland
  • 1975 Kunstsammlung und Schadau-Museum Thun, Switzerland
  • 1975 2ème Biennale de l'Humour et du Satire Gabrovo, Bulgaria
  • 1975/76 Kunsthalle Berne (Berner künstler)
  • 1976 Musée des Beaux-Arts Le Locle, Switzerland
  • 1976 Mostra nazionale de sculptura Vira-Gambarogno, Switzerland
  • 1977 Fondation le Grand Cachot, Switzerland
  • 1977 Kunsthalle Berne (Textil, Glas, Holz, Ton, Stein, Metal)
  • 1977 Aktionsgalerie 1, Berne (Sofortbild Polaroïd)
  • 1977 Musée d'Art et d'Histoire Fribourg, Switzerland
  • 1978 4ème Biennale International des Arts Menton, France
  • 1978 Gewerbemuseum Berne (Berner Künstler)
  • 1978 Sculpture en Liberté Nyon, Switzerland
  • 1978 Galerie Henry Meyer Lausanne
  • 1979 Atelier Urs Gerber Spiez Switzerland (Kunst-Gesellschaft Spiez)
  • 1979 Kunstmuseum Berne
  • 1979 Galerie Wallgraben Freiburg Germany
  • 1979 3ème Biennale de la sculpture acrylique Konstanz, Germany
  • 1980 Gewerbemuseum Berne (artist from Bern)
  • 1981 Ciolina Berne; 1983 Arte como Laser Fundacion Mendoza Caracas
  • 1990 "Computer 90" Lausanne
  • 1990 "Swissdata" (Müstermesse) Basel
  • 1994 Walgraben Münster, Germany
  • 1994 1. International Art competition New York
  • 1995 2. International Art competition New York
  • 1997 Galerie Club Lausanne
  • 1997 Société de Banque Suisse Renens, Switzerland
  • 1997-1998 Galerie Humus Lausanne
  • 1998 2nd. Angel Orensanz Foundation/Center for the Arts «Installation Art Award» New York
  • 1998 Galerie Bertram Burgdorf, Switzerland
  • 2000 Premio Internazionale di Scultura "Terzo Millennio" Erbusco, Italy
  • 2000 "World festival of art on paper" Kranj, Slovenie
  • 2000 International Competition Celebrating Artistic Achievement/AIM Funds Management & The Federation of Canadian Artists Vancouver Canada
  • 2000 "Plastique" Musée Arlaud Lausanne (SPSAS)
  • 2000 Premio Internazionale di Sculptura “Terzo Millenio” L'Angelicum Milano
  • 2001 Premio Internazionale di Scultura "Terzo Millennio" Palazzo Bonoris Brescia, Italy
  • 2003 International Exhibition of Contemporary Art Brasini Halls “Il Vittoriano” (monumento a Vittorio Emanuele II) Rome
  • 2006 Street promenade Lausanne Visarte (60 interventions artistiques au cœur de l'affichage urbain)[1] "Street Promenade Lausanne Visarte-Vaud"
  • 2007 Lipanjepuntin arte contemporaneo Rome
  • 2007 Musée de l'Elysée "Tous photographes" Lausanne
  • 2007 International Print Exhibition Tokyo 2007 Metropolitan Art Museum Tokyo

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